Posted: 6:57 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014
By Chip Saye
Kyle McCann blooped a two-out single over third base with two outs in the fifth inning, driving in pinch-runner Jarrett Wright with what would be the winning run as Lambert outlasted Milton 2-1 in the deciding game of the Class AAAAAA baseball championship series Monday at Milton.
The victory gave Lambert (36-2), ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today, the first baseball title in the program’s five-year history. Milton, which won the championship in 2013 and was seeking its fourth title, finished 28-9.
Lambert came into the series averaging more than nine runs per game but was limited to a total of five in the three-game series, picking up 2-1 victories in the first and last games while losing 5-1 in Game 2.
“The pitchers really stepped up,” Lambert coach Jamie Corr said. “Every single guy we put out on that mound, they stepped up and got it done. And it was a very, very great job by Milton’s pitching staff to hold our offense in check for the entire series.”
Designated hitter Jake Chickowski got the winning rally started with a leadoff double in the fourth. Wright then came in for Chickowski, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored two outs later on McCann’s single.
Lambert trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth but pulled even when pinch-hitter Will Dunavant singled to drive in McCann, who reached on an error to open the inning. The Longhorns had a chance to get more in the fourth, but Milton reliever Will Matthews got Lambert’s Seth Beer to hit into a double play, ending the threat.
Milton took a 1-0 lead in the third when Steven Curry scored on a wild pitch. Curry walked with one out, then stole second and moved to third on a groundout.
The Eagles had their chances against three Lambert pitchers but were unable to come up with a timely hit. Milton had runners on base in every inning but the second but managed just four hits and left seven runners on base, including four in scoring position.
Beer pitched the first three innings for Lambert and faced little trouble until the third, when he walked three batters and threw the wild pitch allowing Curry to score. After allowing a leadoff double to Dylan Cease in the fourth, Beer was relieved by fellow sophomore Turner Scruggs, who got out of the jam and allowed two hits over the next three innings to pick up the victory. Dylan Biumi, who came into the series 10-0 but was the losing pitcher in Game 2, earned some redemption by recording the final three outs to pick up the save.
Lambert’s Tucker Maxwell went 2-for-3 and finished 6-for-8 in the series with two RBIs.
“It feels great,” Corr said. “I’m so proud of the kids. “We have a young team, but the seniors we do have, they’re the ones that brought this thing home.”