The 2012 Greenbrier softball team is now officially elite.
The Lady Wolfpack found themselves in a dogfight Wednesday night, facing the Ola Lady Mustangs in the second round of the Class AAAAA State Softball Playoffs.
Greenbrier jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game one, holding on for the 3-2 win. In the nightcap, the Lady Wolfpack (29-6) led 8-0 before squelching the Lady Mustangs’ (20-9-2) comeback, winning 8-6.
The win put the Lady Wolfpack in the state’s Elite 8. They travel to a neutral site in Columbus, Ga. next Thursday facing the winner of Effingham County and Northgate.
“We competed, especially at the plate tonight,” said Greenbrier head coach Garrett Black. “These were the two best pitchers we’ve seen all year.”
The Lady Wolfpack advanced by gutting their way through the doubleheader. They overcame five errors and 10 runners left on base in the first game and another four errors in game two.
“Tonight we found a way to win,” Black said. “Taylor Dupree made two plays tonight that saved us.”
Greenbrier’s shortstop Dupree, the Region 2-AAAAA Player of the Year, made diving stops of balls up the middle in the sixth inning of both games, recording unassisted forceouts to end both innings.
Before Dupree’s play in game one, second baseman Emily Weatherman made a diving stop of a ball heading to the outfield and made the flip to Dupree at second base for the second out. In the seventh inning, the Lady Mustangs had runners on first and second with one out. Kirsten McMonigle took a grounder, stepped on third base and fired to first for the game-ending double play.
“These are the kind of games you live for,” said Dupree. “It’s a great feeling.”
Dupree was also tough at the plate in the doubleheader with four hits in eight trips.
Facing Ola’s Savannah McHellon, the Lady Wolfpack got one run at a time. In the second inning, a bases-loaded walk to McMonigle scored Kirsten Titus, Brooke Mackelburg’s RBI double scored Dupree in the third and a Maddie Hunt bunt single to left plated Jordie Holt from second base in the fourth.
Titus (20-4) made the lead hold up, earning the complete-game win while allowing five hits and striking out two.
Julie Underwood (9-2) got the game two start and picked up the win with three innings of work as Greenbrier jumped out to a 8-0 lead. Titus came on in relief after Underwood allowed a mammoth home run to McHellon and an ensuing single to start the fourth inning.
Against pitcher Raya Moncus, the Lady Wolfpack took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Dupree singled home Holt, who singled to start the inning. They would leave the bases loaded, however.
They made their breakthough in the top of the fourth, scoring seven times.
The Lady Wolpack scored two runs to start the inning, then had the bases loaded with two outs when Lee Anne Rees stepped to the plate and brought two more home with a clutch single. Titus followed with a run-scoring single and Rees and Titus came home on a Lady Mustangs’ error.
“It all started before me,” said Rees of her hit. “The momentum had a snowball effect.”
Rees went on to describe the feeling of going back to the Elite 8, where she played as a freshman as “surreal.”