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Young team’s success should be celebrated

Posted: October 14, 2011 - 2:27pm  |  Updated: October 15, 2011 - 11:53pm

It's true that this Greenbrier High School softball team is the first in program history not to win its region.

Evans ended that long-held streak with its 6-0 victory over the Wolfpack on Sept. 24 at South Effingham in the Region 2-AAAA Tournament.

While it's significant, simply pointing out that Greenbrier lost its region tournament for the first time doesn't do justice to what this Wolfpack team has accomplished. Nor does it give proper credit to Evans.

The bottom line is that Greenbrier head coach Garrett Black didn't expect this particular Wolfpack team, a young one in comparison to those in the past, to achieve nearly as much as it did this season.

"If you would've said, ‘All right, Garrett, you're going to be ranked No. 1 six of the nine weeks,' I would've said, ‘No way,'" Black said.

"‘Garrett, you're going to win 27 games, and you're going to win your sub-region,'" he added. "I would've said, ‘No way.'"

Black doesn't want this group of players to be known as the streak-breakers. He believes it's unfair to brand them in such a way.

I tend to agree with him, for several reasons.

Why not celebrate what the team has done, rather than pointing out where it fell short?

This is particularly true when the team exceeded expectations in the first place.

Black stressed that another key element in all of this is that "we were beaten by a better team that day."

He gives plenty of credit to Evans, as he should; the Knights hung close with the Wolfpack in two regular-season losses before defeating them in the tournament.

This is a talented, experienced Evans team that is peaking at the right time. It's also a program with plenty of tradition of its own, with multiple Elite Eight trips.

The Knights took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the victory. It was a statement inning after Evans failed to score in both losses this season to Greenbrier.

Tiffany Sellers held Greenbrier to a pair of hits, while fellow senior Rebecca Olson went 4-for-4, with four of Evans' six hits.

Black said his team might have been playing scared, facing a deficit along with so much pressure from the success of past Greenbrier teams.

It's just as hard to play scared as it is easy to play when you're loose and relaxed.

There's no doubt that this region tournament will be remembered as the one that finally saw Greenbrier lose. But there's more to it than that.

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