After Greenbrier High School’s tense 2-1 softball win over Evans on Sept. 5, the rematch Tuesday night shaped up to be another taut thriller, with first place in the subregion on the line.
Greenbrier took most of the suspense out early, jumping out to a 3-0 first-inning lead and building the advantage to 7-0. Evans provided some late-game theatrics, scoring four times in the sixth inning, but it was too-little, too-late as the Lady Wolfpack added a run in the bottom of the sixth and went on to the 8-4 victory.
The win clinched first place in Region 2A-AAAAA for the Lady Wolfpack (18-3, 5-0 subregion) while the Lady Knights (13-9, 3-2) settled for second place.
The Lady Wolfpack broke out the big bats, connecting for four doubles and an inside-the-park home run from pitcher Kirsten Titus leading off the fifth.
Greenbrier got started in the first on a Kirsten McMonigle walk and infield singles from Maddie Hunt and Taylor DuPree. McMonigle scored on an error and one out later Jordie Holt drove in two with a double to left-center.
In the fourth, Brooke Mackelburg doubled leading off followed by a Meghan Dixon single. Mackelburg scored on the first of McMonigle’s two doubles and Dixon came home on Hunt’s RBI groundout.
“We swung the bats well tonight and we put the pressure on them,” said Greenbrier head coach Garrett Black. “We got our speed on base and our right-handers got some big hits for us tonight, which we haven’t been getting consistently, so that was good to see.”
That would be more than enough for Titus (13-2), who cruised through the first five innings, facing two batters over the minimum. She would finish with 10 strikeouts, allowing the four runs on seven hits.
Jumping out to the early lead helped Titus’ confidence.
“I knew that all my girls had my back and I knew that no matter what happened we could still go back into the dugout and we were going to score,” Titus said.
Holt was happy to be able to help give her team the early lead and then turn it over to their star hurler.
“Kirsten (Titus) pitched a heck of a game,” said Holt. “She pitched with passion – one of our core values – and that’s one of the big things we talk about.”
The Lady Knights got infield singles from Brooke Hayes and Savannah Gabriel and a one-out Elyssa Melton single to load the bases in the sixth. Brooke Buck singled home two as did Ashton Odom, but Titus got a strikeout to end the inning.
“I was proud of them still going out there and battling with it,” said Evans head coach Colette Cassedy. “For some reason that sixth inning they kind of figured her (Titus) out a little bit and put it in play, I just wish it would’ve happened a little earlier.”
Black gave credit to the Lady Knights for their comeback.
“Evans came back in and they competed with us in the sixth and seventh innings,” said Black, whose Lady Wolfpack had four errors. “We played five outstanding innings of softball tonight and in the sixth and seventh we didn’t finish. I’m happy that we got the one-seed tonight, but I’m not happy with the way we finished.”
Both teams will be at home in the first round of the Region 2-AAAAA tournament which starts on Saturday.