Top pitchers sometimes have off days, but the consistency of senior right-hander Peter Lambert of San Dimas during the 2015 high school baseball season separated him from all others.
"He was special," San Dimas co-coach Mike Regan said.
Lambert had a record of 13-0 with an earned-run average of 0.34. He threw two shutouts during the Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. He had 15 strikeouts in a 3-2 victory over Hacienda Heights Wilson. He shut out South Hills and shut out Bonita, schools that were both ranked during the regular season in The Times' top 25.
He helped San Dimas win its first 31 games before the Saints lost, 4-1, to Walnut in a Division 3 semifinal.
Lambert has been selected the Southern California player of the year in high school baseball by The Times.
The 6-foot-3 pitcher has signed with UCLA and he also has the option of turning pro after being selected No. 44 overall by the Colorado Rockies in Major League Baseball's amateur draft.
"From an individual standpoint, it was a pretty good season," Lambert said. "Obviously, our team did outstanding. We didn't win the last one to get us where we dreamed of being. I wanted to pitch well every time and wanted to give my team every chance to win."
Whenever Lambert was on the mound, it was as close to an automatic victory as a team could get. His ability to throw four pitches for strikes, including a fastball that touched the low-90s mph, made it difficult for opposing teams to gain momentum.
"He was pretty dominant," Regan said. "All his pitches developed and his location was a big difference-maker. He threw harder this year and located the ball better."
Lambert's only disappointment was he couldn't pitch until the seventh inning of the semifinal because he had pitched a couple days earlier in a quarterfinal. But his team's only defeat won't wipe away the positive memories of a 31-1 season.
"Nothing beats going 31-0 besides winning it all," he said. "Everything was fun."
Despite rising expectations and increasing scrutiny, Lambert delivered time and again and learned valuable lessons that he expects will help him in coming years.
"What I learned was not to overdo anything," he said. "Do everything the way you've always done it. Don't try to be the hero. Play the game the way you've done it your whole life."