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One Down, Three To Go For Sandra Day O'Connor

CARY, N.C. — To win four games, you first have to win one. Sandra Day O’Connor (Phoenix) HS did just that on Wednesday, topping Mater Dei (Santa Anna, Calif.) HS by a 4-0 score in the teams’ first game of the 2018 National High School Invitational, held at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex. 

Sandra Day O’Connor set the tone early, using an RBI single from Nolan Gorman, whom Baseball America ranks as the No. 6 prospect for this year’s draft, to drive home leadoff man Jayce Easley.

From there, starting pitcher Cal Lambert did the rest. The lefthander silenced Mater Dei through all seven innings on just four hits. Lambert struck out two, walked one and threw 91 pitches. He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 27 hitters he faced.

“I thought our team played great,” Sandra Day O’Connor head coach Jeff Baumgartner said. “That’s as good as we can play. Cal pitched a great game today, just dominated for all seven innings. Defense made some phenomenal plays to snuff the rallies and we kind of used the momentum a little bit offensively to get some runs scraped across."

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2021 High School Baseball Rankings: Top 25 Teams In The Country

Baseball America’s High School team rankings are selected through a poll of representatives from the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (NHBCA).

Lambert, an uncommitted junior, said part of the reason for his success on Wednesday was renewed focus on keeping the ball down in the zone.

“My command in general,” Lambert said when asked about what has developed most over his time at Sandra Day O’Connor. “Last year I was missing up a lot. I worked over the offseason a lot just to get my command down and hit my spots in and out on my curveball and my offspeed pitches.”

After Wednesday, Lambert and his team have one NHSI win under their belts. Three more and they’ll make history.

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