The Columbia County members of the All-Region
3-AAAA softball team are: Nikki Smith (back row, from left), Katie Sutherland and Ashlee LaFontaine; Courtney McCladdie (front row, from left), Jamie Lake and Kristan Glover.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Greenbrier High School softball team dominated Region 3-AAAA during the 2002 season, and the Lady Wolfpack dominated the All-Region 3-AAAA postseason honors released last week.
Senior right fielder Katie Sutherland was named Region Player of the Year, sophomore Kristan Glover picked up her second-straight Region Pitcher of the Year award, and Garrett Black captured Coach of the Year honors for the seventh straight time.
Greenbrier's Nikki Smith (senior third baseman), Courtney McCladdie (freshman center fielder) and Ashlee LaFontaine (junior catcher) joined Sutherland and Glover on the All-Region team.
Lakeside High School junior Jamie Lake was named All-Region 3-AAAA shortstop, and was the only first-team selection for the Lady Panthers. Lake also made the All-Region team in 2001.
Greenbrier's Natalie Pippin was a second-team selection, as were Lakeside's Jori McMurtrey and Kristen Lee. Honorable mention was earned by Lakeside's Ashlee Pate and Ansley Evans, and Greenbrier's Brittany Leverett.
Sutherland, meanwhile, was on the All-Region team as a freshman and sophomore, but was denied a third selection in 2001 after missing most of her junior season because of knee surgery.
Sutherland made up for lost time, leading the Lady Pack in several offensive categories in 2002 en route to Player of the Year honors.
Athletic ability and a strong work ethic were part of Sutherland's recipe for softball success, but she admits playing for a team that has won seven straight region titles was the ultimate confidence booster.
"I've learned you have to work hard at your goals, and you have to be a leader in every way," she said. "People look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps. It's just helped me become a better person."
If Glover gets any better, Greenbrier's opponents may want to find another sport. The right-hander posted a 23-4 record, notched a school-record 283 strikeouts and had a minuscule ERA of .202.
Glover helped her team compile a 33-4 record, and those four losses were all by 1-0 scores. The final two defeats, however, came in the Class AAAA state finals in Columbus.
"I know our girls are still disappointed in how the season ended, but this recognition is a good way to finish on a positive note," Black said. "Especially for Katie and Nikki, for all the work they've put in over the last four years, this is a great way to go out as seniors."
Sutherland and Smith each have signed scholarships to play college softball, but as they leave the Brierpatch, others are ready to keep the tradition going.
"They had a big leadership role on the team this year. We'll miss 'em, but I think the seniors next season will do a good job and have the same kind of leadership," Glover said.
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