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Athlete Spotlight

Casey Rowland - Greenbrier High School

Posted: October 11, 2011 - 8:16pm
Rowland  Jim Blaylock / Staff
Jim Blaylock / Staff
Rowland

As many homers as Casey Rowland has accumulated this season, she still never expects her hits to clear the fence.

That's why she looks ecstatic in photographs taken during her home run trots.

"I don't go up to the plate at all thinking that I'm going to hit a home run, ever," the Greenbrier High School senior softball star said. "Half the time I hit it, I don't think it's going to go over. But it does, and I'm really excited."

The power surge helped the Wolfpack to the regular-season title in Region 2-AAAA North and a 27-5 record. It also placed her atop the record books for a program that has enjoyed loads of success.

Rowland broke the team record for home runs in a season, hitting 14 to beat Tiffany Blackburn's mark of 13. With 49 RBI, she trails Blackburn by just three for the single-season team record entering the state playoffs.

Greenbrier will do something this season that it's never done: go on the road for the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

Wolfpack head coach Garrett Black said that Rowland's season is special in two regards.

For one, knocking Blackburn from the top is an achievement in itself, considering she was the state player of the year that season.

In addition, he said, it's been a special season because of the effect the home runs have had.

"They've been big home runs," said Black, who noted that Rowland showed flashes of power as an underclassman, but never like this. "They're not just home runs when we've been up 12-0. They're home runs when it's nothing-nothing.

"When we've needed a jolt offensively ... it's been Casey's home run that's shifted the momentum."

Considering all the players who have contributed to the program's success over the years, Black's claim that Rowland ranks among the top five to have worn a Greenbrier jersey is high praise.

Rowland, who also competes with the school's basketball squad, grew up playing baseball alongside her brother, Jeffrey.

"I didn't like it at first," the shortstop said of softball. "I kept wanting to play baseball. I didn't think there was as much competition in this.

"But coming over here and playing softball with coach Black is just what I needed and I love it," she added. "I wouldn't change it for baseball if I had the chance. I remember thinking, ‘This is competition. I like this.'"

As for her brother, he's had quite the baseball career.

After a standout, state title-winning career at Greenbrier, he went on to star at Georgia Tech and now plays in the minor leagues with the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps of the Detroit Tigers organization.

Despite what the former Wolfpack star has accomplished, Black believes Jeff Rowland takes the most pride in his sister's achievements.

"Any success that he has had in college and even at the minor league level, he'd trade it in to watch Casey hit these home runs," Black said.

"Whenever I get done with a game, he's the first person I always want to talk to and tell him if I played good," Casey Rowland said. "... I kind of brag to him because I care a lot about what he thinks. I look up to him more than anybody."

Like her brother, Rowland wants to continue her athletic career in college. She is strongly considering attending Augusta State University and playing softball there.

She said her decision came about because she'd likely be able to play right away, and because it would afford her the opportunity to do missionary work.

"(ASU coach Melissa Mullins) said we could help out with missionary work," Rowland said. "That's really what I want to do later on in life."

 

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