Season ends for the Lady Horns in a loss to South Forsyth


Tears run amuck, especially for senior Graham Bryant after her final game as a Longhorn. Photo used with permission from Michelle Miller.

After a raucous sendoff by Lambert High School that included cheering, band playing, and  loads of parents with cameras snapping away, the Lady Longhorns went to Columbus for state championships. Banners had decorated the bus, and each player was sent off with a goody bag with encouraging words in hopes of bringing back a first ever state title for the Lambert Softball Program. However, those hopes were dashed after they faced back to back losses culminating in a disappointing end on Friday, October 28th to region rival South Forsyth.

The Lady Longhorns excitedly prepared to take the walk for opening ceremonies. Quickly the mood began to change for the Lambert faithful. The commemorative program created for the top eight teams from Class A to Class AAAAAAA had a glaring mistake. Lambert’s picture was not included in the program, and the roster within it featured many errors about the Longhorn team. As if that alone wasn’t a bad omen, the team also began their walk on the field with their sign upside down. Unfortunately, the bad luck was only beginning.

In the double-elimination tournament, Lambert (25-5) dropped the first game against Lassiter 6-3. The game was held scoreless until the third inning when Lassiter hit a 3-run homer to claim the lead. Another homerun by Lassiter pushed that lead up to 6-0 in the sixth. In a desperate bottom of the seventh with two outs, Lambert saw a glimmer of hope when Catie Rose Hays blasted an RBI triple. Lindsey Nelson drove in Hays with an RBI single with the next at bat. Some excitement started to bubble up as they began their rally. Rachel Cowart singled to load the bases, and Lassiter’s pitcher became frazzled as she walked the next batter, Graham Bryant. The score was 6-3, and Lambert was back at the top of the lineup with the game-tying run up to bat. However, the rally ended there with a popup to second base sending Lambert to the loser’s bracket.

Lambert wasn’t out yet. They would have to face the loser of the East Coweta-South Forsyth game, and they were not particularly interested in facing a hometown rival in Columbus, so they were rooting for their county neighbor to pull through. Unfortunately, South would fall in the pitcher’s duel 2-0. After making it all the way to Columbus, they would yet again have to face South for the fourth time this season. They knew it was going to be a battle because South had been getting closer and closer to victory with each face-off.

Kassidy Krupit pitched all innings of the elite 8 game series, and was as stoic as ever, but Lambert could not produce enough offense to secure a victory in Columbus. And in the worst possible scenario, they would be sent home on a 2-1 loss to region rival South Forsyth. The game was scoreless until South broke the ice in the fourth inning with one run. Lambert answered back in the fifth when Hays singled, and then Skylar Aledia drove her across the plate with an RBI single to tie it up 1-1. It wasn’t until the last possible moment at the bottom of the seventh when South loaded the bases with only one out, that Lambert saw its hope of advancing crushed when a hit up the middle drove in the winning run for South. Both teams appeared shocked at first because the play was thrown to first instead of home to try to stop the run, but it only took a few seconds for South to realize they had just secured the win and were moving on.

Several players, notably upset, still made their way to congratulate South and wished them well to represent Forsyth. It was an emotional end to a phenomenal season, and the Lady Horns agreed they gave it their best and vowed to be back next year.  Despite the loss, Coach Brooks Youngblood is proud of the many first-time accomplishments his team made this season which include a first time win at South, an undefeated region record, becoming region champs for the third time in the last 4 years, and making it to Columbus for the first time in program history. A state title would have just been icing on the cake.

Lambert loses two seniors, but will still have the core of their team returning. Now with a taste of the post season in Columbus, Lambert will be well-equipped for the tournament and are prepared to make another run at state next year.