COLUMBUS, GA. - I couldn't help but laugh the first time I saw Kristan Glover pitch.
I already knew the numbers she had accumulated over the first three seasons of her prep career at Greenbrier. Her coach, Garrett Black, just smiled when I asked him in June whether Glover was as good as advertised.
Lakeside coach Jay Matthews told me she was the best pitcher in the state.
But the first time I saw her in person, I didn't think there was any way she could be as good as advertised. Standing only 5-foot-4, Glover will not scare anyone with her physical presence.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
I was sold after the first pitch of the first game I saw this fall.
In that game, Glover shut down Oconee County - the eventual Class AAA state champs, by the way - en route to a 3-0 win.
I continued to see the same thing all season, Glover shutting down opponents on the mound and sparking the offense as a leadoff hitter. So much attention is paid to her pitching, but Glover is a near .400 hitter and tied for the team lead with three home runs.
But the senior surprised me yet again when the state playoffs began.
She led the Wolfpack through the State Sectionals without giving up a run through the three games of the tournament. She gave up only seven hits in those games and had won 14 games heading into Columbus for the state finals.
Glover took her game to a new level when the finals began this past Thursday.
She shut down North Forsyth, holding them to two hits and no runs. Then she out-dueled Stockbridge's Terese Gober for a one-hit shutout of the Tigers. By the time Greenbrier won the state title, Glover hadn't allowed a run in 47 innings.
After the Stockbridge game, Glover's legend was growing to Paul Bunyan levels.
Nearly every where you went at South Commons, someone was buzzing about that "Greenbrier girl."
Someone would say, "Did you here that Greenbrier pitcher struck out 37 against Stockbridge?" Someone else would reply, "Is that even possible? Never mind, that is amazing."
College coaches watching Gober were entranced by Glover.
It was too late though. Glover has already committed to Tennessee Tech and her commitment, although only verbal, will be honored regardless of who comes calling now.
"They didn't want to come after her up until now," her dad said. "They are too late."
They were more than 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts late. It seemed almost asinine that these schools missed out on Glover, who has the greatest statistical career in Georgia fastpitch history, because the "scouting report" said she was too small. Scouting reports don't measure heart and determination.
The scorekeeper who worked the Stockbridge game and the championship game against Chapel Hill remarked that she was one of the best pitchers he had ever seen. He has worked during the state finals for the past eight years.
"Is she like this every game?" he asked. "She can't be this good."
I looked at him, pulled my best Garrett Black impersonation and just smiled.
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