With a dramatic comeback in the offing, Greenbrier High School’s chances were dashed in a split-second Tuesday night.
Adam Sasser strode to the plate leading off the bottom of the seventh inning, hoping to get something started with the Wolfpack trailing 5-4.
He picked on the third pitch he saw, driving it deep to right-center field, destined for the trees.
Whitewater centerfielder Jabari Richards made the play of the three-game series, however, racing over, leaping and snaring the ball high above the fence for the out as Sasser slammed his helmet in disbelief after rounding first base.
The catch would dash the Wolfpack’s hopes of getting to their third consecutive state championship series as the Wildcats (31-6) won the final game in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state semifinals, 5-4.
“I thought for sure it was over but the guy made a really great play,” said Sasser, who took the loss after battling for seven innings in a 113-pitch outing.
First year coach Jason Osborn acknowledged Richards’ play but liked the spirit his guys showed Tuesday night and all year.
“You make plays like that you deserve to go on but our guys competed, I’m very proud of them,” Osborn said. “There were a lot of people outside this program who didn’t expect us to do a whole lot. Hats off to these guys because they got better and better and better.”
The Wildcats scored on a two-out single in the first and expanded the lead in the third as Sasser walked two, hit two and surrendered a run-scoring double and single with four more runs crossing the plate.
Quickly mounting a rally, the Wolfpack took advantage of two Wildcats’ errors in the bottom of the third to score three times, with Sasser doubling in two of the runs.
With the bases loaded, a double play ended their third inning and they left the bases loaded once more in the sixth inning after a Connor Hoover single scored Ty Snipes, cutting their deficit to 5-4.
“We kind of took a little too long to get going, but that’s a good team over there, it really is, said Osborn. “We’d like to be playing, but we don’t have anything to hang our heads about.”
Whitewater 104 000 0 – 5 7 2
Greenbrier 003 001 0 – 4 8 1
Jonathan Hendershot, Colby Taylor (5), Chandler Raiden (6) and Evan Mask; Adam Sasser and Davis Murray. WP-Hendershot (6-0). LP–Sasser (4-3), S-Raiden (7).
2B-Tyler Doanes (W), Adam Sasser (G). Leading hitters: Whitewater-Evan Mask 2-2; Greenbrier-Sasser 2-4 RBI, Nick Sandlin 2-4.
Records: Whitewater 31-6; Greenbrier 26-9.