Kristan Glover paints her fingernails pink.
Kristan Glover, fastpitch softball pitcher for Greenbrier High School, excels at both academics and athletics. She is closing in on becoming the first reported player in Georgias fastpitch history to post 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in a career.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
She dresses nice and hangs out with friends. She loves children and baby-sits. She does everything a normal high school girl would do.
But the Greenbrier senior is far from a normal student.
When she wraps her fingers, pink nails and all, around a softball, she becomes one of the most dangerous high school pitchers in the short history of Georgia fastpitch.
"It would be hard to find a pitcher as scary as Kristan Glover," said Oconee County head coach Brian Dickens after Glover and Greenbrier beat his team 3-0. "She is simply one of the more intimidating competitors around."
Armed with an array of a half-dozen pitches, Glover throws hard enough to rip off a batter's eyebrows.
She has touched 65 mph on a radar gun. That's roughly equal to 98 mph in baseball, because the fastpitch mound is just 40 feet from the plate. Her go-to pitch, the rise-ball, has sent more people packing than Enron.
"When I put down the fingers for the rise ball, I basically knew that a strikeout was coming," said Ashlee LaFontaine, Glover's catcher for three years and now a freshman at Erskine College. "That is a dominating pitch."
As she closes in on becoming the first reported player in the state's fastpitch history to post 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in a career, Glover remains unimpressed by her accomplishments. She would also become only the fourth player in the nation's history to accomplish the feat, according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
"They are just numbers," she said. "If I didn't have great teams behind me, I never would have achieved those numbers."
Glover doesn't really have time for the numbers anyway.
The senior has a fan base she must satisfy.
"A couple weeks ago, Kristan cut her hair," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "My daughter came home and said, 'I have to have a hair cut like Kristan's.' When she got the hair cut, the first thing she did was run and show Kristan. That is just one of many stories of how kids look up to her. She works our summer camps and develops great bonds with so many kids."
An accomplished "A" student, Glover doesn't worry about "numbers."
But those "numbers" started accumulating four years ago when the then-13-year-old claimed the job of staff ace for Black.
"I could tell how we played when she was on the mound," Black said. "But it was the seniors who told me that she should be the ace."
The freshman responded to the challenge, posting a 20-6 record with a 1.22 ERA and 172 strikeouts.
"I worked real hard the summer before my first year of high school," Glover said. "I wanted to become the top pitcher, but that would have never happened without the help of a lot of seniors."
With Glover leading the charge, the Wolfpack made it to the Elite Eight in Columbus but lost their first two games and were eliminated.
Hungry after the early exit in 2001, Glover posted a minuscule ERA of 0.20 and yielded only five runs all season while going 23-4. The team lost only four games and all the losses were 1-0. Two of those were the first two games of the 2002 Elite Eight.
"It was hard to go to the state finals my first two seasons and then go two and out," said Glover, who threw six of her career 15 no-hitters her sophomore season.
Glover and the Wolfpack came out with a fury last fall, climbing to No. 1 in the state entering Columbus.
The Wolfpack finally broke through and won the first game. They finished third in the state and Glover finished 30-6. She was named Region Pitcher of the Year for the third straight season and was named All-State.
Greenbrier, which has lost only one region game in Glover's career, entered the 2004 season ranked No. 1 and with lofty expectations.
"The pressure doesn't bother me; I kind of like it," Glover said. "It is easier to deal with, considering the teammates I have behind me."
Glover quickly shuns the spotlight anytime her accolades are brought up, mentioning teammates or coaches as the responsible parties for her astounding statistics.
Those "numbers" now stand at 80 wins, 821 strikeouts, a .082 opposing batting average, 0.62 ERA and 55 earned runs surrendered.
"Impact-wise, she is the greatest player in Greenbrier's history," Black said. "She put us on a level to where we could compete with any school in the state."
Lakeside coach Jay Matthews, who has probably seen more of Glover than he ever wanted to in region games over the years, says she is the best pitcher in the state.
"She can do just about anything she wants on the mound," he said.
Glover said she has accomplished just about everything she could at Greenbrier including extending the school's region title streak to eight years - which turns out to be every year the program has been around.
"The only thing left is a state title," she said. "Coach Black pours his heart and soul into this program, and getting him a title would mean so much to me."
When asked if she would give up the 100-1,000 record for a state title, Glover quickly responds, "Definitely, without a doubt."
Her accolades will earn her a scholarship, which she says she would like to secure in the Early Signing Period that runs from Nov. 10-17.
Right now, it seems Tennessee Tech would be the team to beat. She has a friend and former teammate Katie Sutherland there and Black says the familiar face could help acclimate her to college life.
North Georgia and USC-Aiken are other schools she is considering.
Conspicuously missing from her list of suitors are softball powers such as Georgia and LSU.
Glover said she isn't disappointed that bigger schools haven't sought her services, speculating that she is too small.
"It is beyond me," Black said when asked why Glover hasn't received the attention of SEC schools. "I don't understand it. Kristan has a big heart and if you put her in a competitive setting, she will beat you."
Black said it really didn't matter.
"To see how great a person she is, the way she carries herself in the classroom, in the halls and on the field, is a reward," said Black, who considers Glover one of his own daughters. "If we win a state title, we win a state title. But seeing that Kristan is prepared for the real world is much more special."
If she handles the real world anything like she does when facing a batter, then Glover will be just fine.
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