Kristan Glover, a senior softball player at Greenbrier High School, and coach Garrett Black have been named Columbia County News-Times 2004 softball player and coach of the year.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Kristan Glover didn't think she would ever have to consider towing capacity when she first got her car.
It's a good thing it is a sport utility vehicle, because the Greenbrier pitcher will need something large enough to haul her ever-growing trophy collection.
Glover was recently named Region Pitcher of the Year for the fourth straight season and should be named all-state for the third straight year when the state's softball coaches convene in early December.
"She sure has made herself a nice little collection of awards," coach Garrett Black said. "She deserves all the accolades she receives."
The biggest trophy of them all was the state championship trophy Greenbrier won in October. It was the first softball title in school history.
Because of their run to the title, Glover and Black have been named The Columbia County News-Times 2004 Softball Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.
The state title capped off a remarkable career for Glover and the end of a nine-year journey for Black.
Glover, the Lady Wolf-pack's ace since her freshman season, won 104 games and recorded 1,036 strikeouts during her career. She was the first player in Georgia history and the fourth reported player in the nation to eclipse the 100-win, 1,000-strikeout plateau.
"It would be hard to find a player who has had as big an impact as Kristan Glover," said Brian Dickens, coach of Class AAA state champion Oconee County. "She's as tough a competitor as anyone around has ever seen."
Greenbrier softball star Kristan Glover signs a scholarship to play for Tennessee Tech as her family gathers to watch. The ceremony took place Tuesday at the high school in Evans.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Glover finished the season with seven consecutive shut-outs and 47 straight scoreless innings pitched.
"She just got into a zone," junior Brittany Leverett said. "She wasn't going to let anyone beat us."
Glover's one-hit shut-out against Stockbridge during the state finals has already been deemed one of the best games in state finals history.
"I pitched real well during that game," said Glover, who signed with Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. "But our defense was unbelievable and Tiffany Blackburn hit a big home run."
Glover said before the season she wanted to win a title for Black because she knew how badly he wanted the championship.
"That was a huge deal," Glover said. "Coach gave us dirt every year to remind us we had unfinished business. After we won, we made him a plaque that had the original dirt he gave us and the dirt from this year. We wrote on the bag, "Finished Business.'"
Glover has such a strong bond with Black that she seriously considered playing basketball - which she hasn't played since eighth grade - just "to have one more season with coach."
"I'll just go to as many games as possible to support my friends and teammates and coach," Glover said.
For Black, the final out in Columbus - a soft line drive to Amanda Glover - represented the end of a title chase.
Black has coached at Greenbrier since the school opened, winning the region title in each of the nine seasons. He has taken the school to the state finals five times.
"Sometimes you think we might not get one," Black said after getting to Columbus four times before this season's title. "It takes a lot of luck and a lot of talent. We had a lot of talent and caught some breaks this season. But I think this team was the best in the state and this title goes out to every player that has put on a Greenbrier uniform."
Black will have a talented team returning next fall, with six returning starters including the entire infield. The coach said he thinks his team will have a chance to get back to Columbus next year, but will still have to replace one of the greatest pitchers in state history.
"That's the million-dollar question," Black says. "You can't replace Kristan Glover. We just hope we can find an ace to keep the tradition going."
All County softball team
C Amber Klein, Sr., Harlem - The hard-hitting catcher led the Bulldogs in just about every offensive category.
C Jessica Borum, Jr., Greenbrier - Borum hit .350 with a home run for the Lady 'Pack.
IF Kristi Nichols, Sr., Greenbrier - One of the best defensive first base players in the state, Nichols hit two home runs this year.
IF Amanda Glover, Jr., Greenbrier - Glover's glove at second base and her near .400 average makes her one of the top rising seniors in the area.
IF Brittani Turner, Jr., Evans - Turner's .407 average and 14 RBIs snagged her all-region honors.
IF Tiffany Blackburn, Soph., Greenbrier - Blackburn is a State Player of the Year candidate after hitting over .500 with three home runs.
IF Brittany Leverett, Jr., Greenbrier - Leverett hit three home runs to go with a .435 batting average.
OF Courtney McCladdie, Jr., Greenbrier - McCladdie hit .370 with 21 slap hits and 20 bunt singles.
OF Jori McMurtrey, Jr., Lakeside - McMurtrey played a little bit everywhere. She was a standout pitcher but hit .395 and has a solid glove.
OF Kayla Adams, Jr., Greenbrier - Gritty switch hitter has an outstanding glove and work ethic. She also hit .300.
P Kristan Glover, Sr., Greenbrier - Glover was the first player in Georgia fastpitch history to win 100 games and record 1,000 strikeouts. She signed with Tennessee Tech.
P Cayla Hale, Jr., Evans - Hale came on strong as the season closed, winning 16 games with a 1.54 ERA.
UTIL Sam Wannaker, Jr., Lakeside - Wannamaker switched to catcher after Hillary Hall went down. One of the most versatile players in the county.
Evans-2B Julia Nelson-Abbott, Jr., SS Bekah Gibbs, Sr., Maddy Crawford, Abby Donnelly.
Lakeside-SS/P Kaylee Hutchins, Soph., 3B/P Andria Batchelor, Soph.
Harlem-P Lauren Seaborn, Jr.
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