With Tuesday night’s home win against Lakeside, Greenbrier clinched first place in Region 2-AAAA.
But the victory didn’t come easy.
The Wolfpack (14-2, 8-0) scored five runs in the first inning, only to see the Panthers strike for five of their own in the second. Lakeside scored the next six runs to take a 11-5 lead, but Greenbrier rallied for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Panthers loaded the bases in the top of the seventh with two outs, but the Wolfpack held on for the 12-11 win.
“Every time we take the field, we’re going to try and beat whoever’s in the other dugout,” Greenbrier head coach Chris Wilkins said. “Those kids (Lakeside) deserve a lot of credit. They certainly fought hard and I don’t know what fate has for them down the line, but it’s going to be good things.”
The three-hour plus affair included 27 hits, 15 for Lakeside, six pitchers and six errors.
Steven Maier scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth.
The Panthers (9-8, 0-7) wouldn’t go quietly.
With one out, Tanner Brassell and Tanner Durand singled. One out later, Cole Pittman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Reliever Adam Grice, the Wolfpack’s third hurler of the night, went 3-2 on Chandler Corey before striking him out to end the game.
“I just tried to throw strikes and let my defense work,” said Grice. “That’s what I’m here to do.”
Grice earned his fourth save in an inning of work, while Christian Hill (4-1) got the win in two and two-thirds innings, allowing six runs on five hits.
Lakeside’s Evan Krenz took the mound with nobody out in the sixth inning following a leadoff single and RBI triple by Jordan Hunt and Spencer Duffie, respectively. He would take the loss, giving up two unearned runs. He struck out two and didn’t allow a hit, but the defense committed two of its five errors in the inning.
It looked like the game would be the Wolfpack’s from the get-go as the first six batters reached in the first inning, sending Panthers’ starter Peyton Jones to an early exit. Greenbrier scored five runs, but the scrappy Panthers answered with five of their own in the top of the third, all coming with two outs.
The Panthers would add four in the top of the fourth, knocking out starter Jordan Hunt in the process. Krenz delivered the big blow in the inning with a two-run single.
Hunter Hubbard snuffed out the Wolfpack’s rally in the first, and the Panthers’ reliever made it to the fifth inning with relative ease.
In the fifth, though, Hunt and Duffie led off with singles, both scoring on Grice’s double. Grice would come home on Knox Marchman’s sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 11-8. The Wolfpack would load the bases before Hubbard struck out Taylor Glover for the final out.
For the Panthers, Durand was 2 for 5 with two RBI and Lane Wallace was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Grice was 2 for 4 with three RBI for the Wolfpack, while Clint Hardy, Hunt and Duffie each added two hits.