Last spring, Justin Lambert and Sadiq Burkholder were instrumental in leading Hughesville to its most successful baseball season in program history, as the Spartans won the District 4 crown and earned their first ever state playoff berth. Unfortunately for Lambert and Burkholder, they fell short of their ultimate goal of winning the state championship.
However, on Thursday the sting from their state playoff loss was likely alleviated, as the duo were successful in helping a different team bring home a championship, winning the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series as members of the Harrisburg RBI team.
The RBI World Series, which was hosted by the Minnesota Twins, is the international tournament for the RBI program, a Major League Baseball initiative developed in 1989 that aims to provide inner city children the opportunity to play baseball and enjoy academic success.
Harrisburg won the tournament for the first time after defeating Tampa 4-3 in the championship held on Thursday at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. They posted a 5-0-1 tournament record.
"It was very exciting," Lambert said. "Just taking the trip down there to play in the tournament was an honor, but winning a championship game in a major league stadium was one of the best experiences I ever had."
Lambert, who started third base and made two pitching appearances for Harrisburg during the tournament, was first made aware of the RBI program from his teammate Sadiq Burkholder, who has been a participant of RBI for the last five years.
Last year Lambert played his first season with RBI as a member of Harrisburg's Junior team. This year he was bumped to the Senior squad after impressing the team's coaches.
Lambert said that after winning the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament held in Harrisburg, he was very confident his team would make some noise at the RBI World Series.
"We rolled over most of the teams we played," he said. "We came together in a real short time and we had great chemistry. I think we came together better than most of the other teams that were there.
"I have no doubt we will stay in touch. We havent known each other all that long, but I made some really good friends," said Lambert.
A rerun of Thursday's game is scheduled to air on MLB Network and will also stream on MLB.com today at 11:30 a.m.