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Greenbrier softball star signs to play at Augusta State

Posted: November 23, 2011 - 1:07am  |  Updated: November 23, 2011 - 5:10am
Greenbrier High School softball coach Garrett Black embraces star shortstop Casey Rowland during her signing Wednesday afternoon. Joined by her mother, Carole, and Black, Rowland signed a letter of intent to play at Augusta State University.  Justin Williams/Staff
Justin Williams/Staff
Greenbrier High School softball coach Garrett Black embraces star shortstop Casey Rowland during her signing Wednesday afternoon. Joined by her mother, Carole, and Black, Rowland signed a letter of intent to play at Augusta State University.

Twitter @JWilliamsCCNT

Securing a spot atop two power-hitting categories in the Greenbrier High School softball record book is a significant achievement.

Ask head coach Garrett Black, though, and he’ll stress that it wasn’t just that Casey Rowland hit 17 home runs and amassed 55 RBI during her senior season.

It was how she did it.

“They’ve been big home runs,” Black said late in the season, when Rowland eclipsed Tiffany Blackburn’s single-season record for homers. “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.”

Those who have come to appreciate watching the Wolfpack star shortstop play won’t have to go far to see her continue her softball career.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rowland signed a letter of intent to play at Augusta State.

Several contributing factors played into her decision.

Rowland said she’s excited to play for coach Melissa Mullins. She will have the chance to go in and compete for a starting spot right away.

Through it all, though, it came down to her comfort level.

“One thing about Augusta State is that my mom went there, and so did my sister, so it really felt comfortable going there,” said Rowland, who has not decided on a major yet. “And it’s close to home.”

Rowland said that she took a different approach to her senior season.

With only one year left, she made a conscious effort to get closer to her teammates and her coach.

“I had more fun this year,” she admitted.

Rowland’s power surge helped the Wolfpack to the regular-season title in Region 2-AAAA North and a 29-8 record. The squad advanced to the second round of the state playoffs a year after finishing as state runner-up.

Black’s claim that her home runs came at crucial times rang true in the first round against Hardaway.

Down a game in the best-of-3 series and then down early in Game 2, Rowland first tied the game with a home run, then hit a two-run walk-off home run.

Greenbrier won the series the next day.

Former Greenbrier and Georgia Tech standout Jeffrey Rowland, who now plays in the Detroit Tigers organization, said he gets more of a kick out of his sister’s achievements than his own.

He’s always the one Casey calls first to talk about that day’s game.

“I get more excited for her than I do for myself,” he said Wednesday.

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