Some people say it's good to be the king.
Tiffany Blackburn runs laps with the Greenbrier softball team during practice.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black isn't one of those people, at least not at this time.
The Georgia Sports Network's recently released preseason softball rankings listed the Wolfpack atop Class AAAA.
"It is definitely a case of where we finish, not where we start," Black said. "We have been ranked first in the state before, but never to start the season.
"In that regard, it is a milestone for the program. But right now I have to worry about winning our region before winning the state."
Last season, Greenbrier finished the season ranked third in the GSN poll after a 30-plus win season.
The Wolfpack lost only two starters, Natalie Pippen and All-State catcher Ashlee LaFontaine, from a team that won its eighth straight region title in 2003.
This year, Greenbrier trots out, arguably, the state's best pitcher, Kristan Glover, who has a shot at 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts for her career.
The team also returns Brittany Leverett, Tiffany Blackburn, Courtney McCladdie, Amanda Glover and Kristi Nichols, all of whom were honored as All-County players by The Columbia County News-Times last year.
"We have a strong team returning," Black said. "We'll just have to see how everything pans out."
The team will face its biggest test thus far when the Class-AAAA defending state champions, Oconee County, visit the Brierpatch on Wednesday.
"Oconee County has one of the best programs year in and year out," Black said. "Playing non-region games against competition like that allows us to gauge where we're at and it toughens us up for our region schedule."
No other county teams were listed in the preseason Top 10.
Preseason Top 10 Class AAAA softball
5. Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe
9. North Forsyth
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