There are many reasons why Greenbrier entered the week with a perfect 19-0 record.
Two of them happen to be starting pitchers Brandon Cumpton and Nolan Belcher.
"They mean so much to this team," Greenbrier baseball coach Ed Williams said. "One would be great, but to have two guys on the team like this - it helps everything."
The pitchers have yet to lose a game this season. Cumpton earned one of his biggest wins of the year in a complete-game three-hitter in an 11-1 romp at Evans. Belcher showed his talent in a region game against Jones County when the sophomore hurled a complete game no-hitter.
While both have found success on the mound for the Wolfpack, the two pitchers have taken dramatically different roads to get there.
Belcher, one of the newer members of the Greenbrier team, joined the squad on the day of their season opener. The sophomore transferred midsemester from Augusta Christian Schools, where he dominated the private school world last year en route to a South Carolina Independent Schools Association State Championship.
Cumpton, on the other hand, climbed through the public school ranks beginning at Riverside Middle. After a freshman year on both the junior varsity and varsity squads, Cumpton saw regular action last season as a sophomore. He would have been the outright No. 1 starter this season until Belcher's transfer. Now the roles of No. 1 and No. 2 pitcher are a little fuzzy. At Greenbrier, everyone seems to be fine with that.
"I think the kids compete, but not to where one feels slighted over the other," Williams said. "Both want to be there on the mound, but it's a good competition."
Both Belcher and Cumpton said they feel the same way.
"We don't compete, we work with each other," Belcher said. "We talk about the different teams we face and help each other out."
On the surface, the two pitchers are alike. They both get the job done with plenty of strike outs and can also contribute on offense. When one is pitching, the other is often starting as a designated hitter; however, at least one Wolfpack player can tell a difference between the two athletes: Greenbrier catcher Russ Winter.
"Most of the time they're both easy to catch," Winter, who has caught most of their games this season, said. "Brandon likes to go right at the batters more. Nolan likes to work them. They're both good at what they do."
As the regular season winds down, the Wolfpack find themselves at the top of the Region 2W-AAAA standings. After missing out on the state playoffs last season, it will take more than offense to make a run toward a state title.
"It takes pitching to win," senior Rich Poythress said. "Every time we take the field we feel comfortable knowing they're on the mound."
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