LOGANVILLE — Facing a must-win situation, Lambert rode the arm and the bat of Brock Maxwell to defeat No. 2-ranked Loganville 8-2 in Game 2 of their first round series Friday night.
The win forced a Game 3 on Saturday afternoon, as the Longhorns (18-10) dropped the first game of the double header 6-2.
Maxwell (7 IP, 7 K, 2 R, 4 H, 5 BB) pitched a complete game, holding Loganville scoreless and hitless for the first three innings. On the offensive end, he went 2-for-2 with a double, 2 RBI and two runs scored.
“Brock’s our go-to guy,” Lambert coach Jamie Corr said. “We lean on him when the chips are down and they were certainly down after Game 1, and he responded in Game 2, throwing an absolute gem all the way to his pitch count and really came through at the plate as well.”
The Longhorns, playing as the home team in Game 2, got off to a fast start, scoring four runs in the first inning.
Maxwell, Tanner Scroggins and Jake Chickowski all drove in runs in the inning. Maxwell added an RBI single in the second, increasing the lead to 5-0.
“[The first inning] was huge for our psyche because after dropping a game like that, you want to come out and really believe you can win Game 2, and putting a four spot in the first inning certainly gave us that confidence,” Corr said.
Loganville (22-6) was unable to answer until the fifth.
With two outs in the inning, Maxwell walked two straight batters and then gave up an RBI single to Loganville’s Christian Miller (1-for-2, RBI, BB).
Clint Frazier, who had reached base on one of Maxwell’s walks, was caught stealing between third and home to end the inning.
The Red Devils applied more pressure to Maxwell again in sixth when Billy Whitlock (1-for-3) delivered a leadoff double into right field.
Maxwell struck out the next batter, but Whitlock advanced to third off of Daniel Milligan’s ground-out and scored on a wild pitch, further trimming the lead to 5-2.
During both innings, Corr went to the mound to talk to Maxwell. Each time, Maxwell closed the inning with the bullpen active over his shoulder.
Corr’s trust in Maxwell paid off in the bottom of the sixth. Jake Lucas (2-for-3, BB, K) led off the inning with a single and was advanced to second following Brian Watson’s sacrifice bunt. Maxwell would then reach first after being hit by a pitch, before Justin Reichling (3-for-4, 2B, 2RBI) sent both runners home with a one-out stand-up double to increase the lead to 7-2.
“They scored a couple there in the middle innings, got to Brock a little bit, and it was huge for Justin Reichling to come through with an enormous hit right there to score those runs,” said Corr.
Edgeworth added to the Longhorns’ lead in the sixth, sending Rechling, who had advanced to third off a wild pitch, home on a single.
Maxwell remained in the game for the seventh, striking out the leadoff hitter and getting the next two Loganville batters to fly-out.
Game 1: Loganville 6, Lambert 2
Going to the bullpen didn’t help the the Longhorns in Game 1.
After pulling starting pitcher Zack Schlosser after 2 1/3 innings (2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, K), Loganville’s Brandon Pergantis (1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI) hit a three-run homer off of Lambert’s Clay Crosby, the first batter he faced.
Lambert got its only runs in the fourth after a balk by Loganville’s Garrett Ford sent Watson over home plate. Later in the inning, Edgeworth lined a single over the shortstop to send Maxwell home and cut the lead to 3-2. Loganville responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
In the sixth, Lambert’s Joe Vonderschmidt, in relief for Brian Watson, who gave up one run in the fifth, surrendered a so homer to Loganville’s Clint Frazier (1-for-2, HR, RBI).
“Pitching depth has been our Achilles heel all year,” said Corr.
“With a couple injuries early in the season and a couple of guys having to leave the team, it’s certainly put us in a bind, and I’m really proud of the guys for going out there and battling the way they are.”