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Greenbrier defeats Grovetown, makes state playoffs

Posted: October 4, 2017 - 2:02am
Beth Romanowski tosses a pitch in the first inning of the Lady Wolfpack’s 12-1 victory over Grovetown in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Greenbrier coach Garrett Black made it a perfect 22 for 22.

Last week, the Lady Wolfpack qualified for the state softball tournament for the 22nd time in a row in Black's tenure leading the program. Greenbrier kicked off the region semifinals Tuesday at Evans. The tournament, which will crown its champion today, will determine the playoff seeding for Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside and Heritage. The Class AAAAAA Tournament begins Friday, Oct. 13.

The Lady Wolfpack qualified for the state tournament with their doubleheader sweep of Grove­town. Greenbrier players wore black jerseys with "Black" on the back in honor of their coach, sweeping the Lady Warriors, 12-1 and 12-0.

"He basically became a senior with me, Beth (Romanowski) and Carrintyn (Greene)," senior second baseman Nicole Rogers said. "We decided as a group, as a team, that we wanted to show Coach Black how much he meant to us."

Rogers said Black didn't know about the jersey decision until the team walked onto the field.

"I didn't know anything about it," Black said. "The kids are great kids. And I am going to miss the kids. ... It was pretty cool to see them walking out. It did catch me off guard."

Greenbrier (20-6) - and Black - qualified for postseason play for the 22nd consecutive season. The Lady Wolfpack, a No. 3 seed in the region tournament, has two more games Saturday before playing No. 2 seed Heritage in the region semifinals Tuesday at Evans. Lakeside, a No. 4 seed, swept Alcovy on Wed­nesday to also qualify for the state tournament.

The Lady Panthers will face the top-seeded Lady Knights in the region semifinals.

"Knowing that we qualified for state is a huge deal," Rogers said. "This could have been the end of our season today. Now, it's not. The first step is region tournament next week."

Black said making the state playoffs every year of his coaching tenure is something special. Making postseason means his team is two state playoff series wins away from making the Elite Eight in Columbus, Ga., one more time.

"Every year, we've had a chance to go to Columbus," said Black, who won state titles in 2004 and 2014. "We're hoping to have a chance again this year. Now we do, since we're in."

Against Grovetown, Carson Black - Garrett's daughter - sliced a line drive inside the right-field line and hustled around the base paths for an inside-the-park home run in the first inning of Game 1. Black's three-run homer staked the Lady Wolfpack to a 6-0 lead.

Greenbrier added five more runs in the fourth to put the game away.

Romanowski scatted five hits to pick up the victory. Black, Greene and Megan Steinmeyer each collected two hits for Greenbrier.

Laila Leverette took the loss for Grovetown. She also went 2 for 2 at the plate.

In the second game, the Lady Wolfpack scored five runs in the first, tacked on four more in the second and never looked back.

"We showed up tonight," Black said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach (Kevin) Hunt. I know what he's trying to do with the program. We showed up, put the ball in play and got some key hits and pitching and played good defense."

 

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