There was a touch of fall in the air Thursday night at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, so the Greenbrier High School softball team warmed things up with an annual tradition.
Just as surely as the seasons change, the Lady Wolfpack claims championships.
Greenbrier rolled to another Region (Area) 3-AAAA title last week, posting four wins in the double-elimination tournament at Diamond Lakes.
"We won a seventh straight region championship, and that's what we've been working toward all season," Greenbrier catcher Ashlee laFontaine said. "It was awesome."
Kristan Glover rated an "awesome" herself. The Lady Pack pitcher capped the tournament with back-to-back no-hitters Thursday. During an 8-0 win over Jones County, the sophomore set a school record by striking out 19, then fanned 13 more batters in a title-clinching, 2-0 shutout of Cross Creek.
"My control was there, and Ashlee did a really good job of calling my pitches," Glover said. "She took a lot of pressure off me. She was my brain today."
The Lakeside High School squad will join Greenbrier in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAA sectionals, which will be Friday and Saturday at Diamond Lakes. The Lady Panthers went 2-2 in the region tournament to earn a No. 4 seed in the sectionals.
"Like I told the girls, there's 32 teams left playing (in the sectionals), and we're one of them," Lakeside coach Jay Matthews said.
Kristan Glover throws a no-hitter against Jones County High School during their semi-final matchup.
Photo by Jonathan Ernst
Greenbrier opened region play last weekend with a 10-0 romp over Thomson, as Glover and Jenni Massingale combined on a no-hitter.
Then, in second-round action Wednesday, Cross Creek took Greenbrier into extra-inning play, which is conducted under the international tiebreaker rule. The Razorbacks took a 2-1 lead in their at-bat, leaving the Lady Pack trailing for just the third time in 2002.
Greenbrier rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth, with Natalie Pippin delivering the game-winning hit.
"Everybody did their job, and it was just luck for me that I got up there," Pippin said. "I wouldn't have had that chance if my teammates hadn't done their job."
The extra-inning win set the stage for Thursday's "Little Barbie" and "Big Barbie" show. Glover, aka Little Barbie, worked with the efficiency of a guillotine, while Katie Sutherland, aka Big Barbie, packed some punch at the plate by going 6-for-8 with five RBI.
In the finale, freshman center fielder Courtney McCladdie made a running, shoe-string catch to help preserve the no-hitter.
With the region sweep, Greenbrier improved its record to 30-2, including 26 shutouts.
"I've never been through a year like this," said Garrett Black, who has coached the Lady Pack to seven crowns in his seven campaigns. "This group is a family. They care for one another, and most of all, they've got a lot of pride wearing that Greenbrier uniform."
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