There is nothing I can say to lessen the pain the Greenbrier High School baseball team is feeling. Their hopes of a state championship ended with a 14-4 loss to Loganville Monday in the decisive third game of the AAAA state championship series.
Coming so close and not winning the title is a pain few can understand, but this group has plenty to be proud of. Anytime you lose a tough one people say “keep your head up,” or “you have nothing to hang your head about.” With this team, that sentiment is absolutely true. The Wolfpack finished the year 31-5 and came within one win of the school’s sixth state title.
They also had all of “Greenbrier nation” pulling for them. I was texting back and forth with former Greenbrier stars Scott Wandless and Rich Poythress over the last few days. Both were rooting like crazy for their alma mater, but it was obvious they were not just proud that their school was winning games. While they were certainly impressed with the team’s on-field success, they also raved about the kids on the team. They each told me what a great group of kids comprised the 2012 Greenbrier squad.
Poythress worked with the team during the off-season, and he came away impressed. “This is a great group of guys,” Poythress said. “I have keep in touch with them all season.”
Feeding off one another, going about their business the right way, and winning games, of course, made this squad special. They did not win a state title, but this team will not be soon forgotten. A closer look at their season and difficulty of their schedule illustrates just how impressive the 2012 Wolfpack team was.
Overall record: 31-5
Region record: 14-0
In-county record: 9-0
Winning streak: 22 games
Of their 18 opponents, 12 were state playoff teams
The six non-playoff teams were among the state’s best programs (Statesboro, Lakeside, Burke County, South Effingham, Brunswick, Effingham County).
One of those six non-playoff teams was South Effingham, which spent time this season ranked No. 1 in AAAA.
Only one non-region opponent did not make the state playoffs
Greenbrier played only three teams with losing records and two of them made the state playoffs. Only Brunswick (9-13) did not.
Greenbrier played 10 teams that were not in their region. Those teams averaged 20 wins.
Chris Wilkins put together an extremely challenging schedule, and his team responded with a terrific season. There will be plenty of individual accolades coming to this squad, but I wanted everyone to consider the accomplishments of the team first. When you spend virtually all season at No. 1 you are taking the best shot from everyone you play.
Couple that with the brutally tough schedule, and it makes their achievement even more impressive. The fact that they were able to win 31 games is remarkable. Also, consider what Wilkins has done in his four seasons at the helm.
2009: 22-7 (second round of state playoffs)
2010: 22-9 (second round of state playoffs)
2011: 21-10 (Elite 8)
2012: 31-5 (state runners-up)
There were some people that were ready to run Wilkins him off after his first season. I didn’t understand it then, and I certainly cannot now. He has averaged 24 wins and his teams have won at least one state playoff series each year. Sure, in Columbia County coaches and teams are measured by state titles, but Wilkins and the 2012 Wolfpack have plenty to be proud of.
Lakeside’s Basketball Camp gets underway this Monday (6/4), but you still have time to sign up. The camp runs from June 4-7, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, and is open to boys and girls ages 7-13. Cost of the camp is $80, and benefits the Lakeside basketball program. For more info or to sign up call coach John Kucela (706) 863-0027 ext. 4354 or (706) 726-3039