Way back in November, I was talking to an area coach, and he told me that when baseball season rolled around Greenbrier was going to be loaded. As we continued to talk he said that he thought it might be the most talented team in Georgia and could be one of the best teams Columbia County has ever seen.
That coach was Greenbrier assistant Garrett Black.
Coach Black and I are friends, and he was partly poking fun at head coach Ed Williams - putting the pressure on Williams to win the state or 2006 would be a disappointment.
As the 2006 baseball season got under way, more people started to favor Greenbrier to capture the AAAA state title. With all the talent the Wolfpack returned this spring and the addition of talented transfers Jeff Rowland and Nolan Belcher, Greenbrier opened 2006 as the top-ranked team in Georgia.
As the wins started to pile up, so did the expectations of Greenbrier fans and foes alike.
Often in sports it is easier to be the underdog. When you are expected to be the best, that kind of pressure often gets the better of a team.
To go out 36 times as the favorite and be able to come out on top 35 times is astounding. Greenbrier played all season with the pressure of being the top dog hanging over its head. Game in and game out, opponents were giving Greenbrier their best shot. They each wanted to be the one to knock the Pack off its pedestal. That is why this season is so special.
The team went out this year with one goal: to win the state championship.
They took on all comers and came out smelling like roses. In a previous column, I compared Greenbrier with the great all-time teams in Columbia County. Well, the Pack lacked one thing at that time. All of the other teams mentioned in that piece were state champs. Now Greenbrier High also can check off that box.
From here on out when people talk about the best teams from this area, the 2006 Greenbrier team will take a back seat to no one.
The numbers do not lie.
Greenbrier outscored its opponents 368-58 this season. The pitching staff had an amazing 14 shutouts (including five of its final eight games). It yielded more than four runs only three times all year. It scored 10 or more runs 21 times, and won by 10 or more runs 19 times.
Most important, the Wolfpack set a Columbia County record with 35 wins.
Thanks, coach Williams, and the rest of the team for giving us so much to cheer about this season.
Middle School All-Star Game rosters set
The inaugural Columbia County Middle School Baseball All-Star Game will be played at 5 p.m. Sunday at Evans High School.
This game will feature the county's top eighth-graders in a seven-inning game. The rosters are as follows:
Adam Fortenberry (Evans)
Corey Jones (Lakeside)
Chad Farmer (Greenbrier)
Blake Ross (Riverside)
Jeff McGowan (Greenbrier)
Donald Cockerham (Evans)
Dylon Lyons (Augusta Christian)
Matt Blume (Columbia)
Jackson Posey (Greenbrier)
Brian Hodges (Riverside)
Ben Black (Lakeside)
Eddie Letbetter (Grovetown)
Tevin Nelson (Evans)
Sam Daniel (Riverside)
Corey Holloway (Evans)
Josh "Luggy" Bennett (Lakeside)
Tyler Barden (Evans)
Derek Beasley (Greenbrier)
Will Perfect (Riverside)
Rick Thigpen (Evans)
Spencer Starnes (Riverside)
Luke Amerson (Augusta Christian)
Ben Morgan (Greenbrier)
Michael Brantley (Columbia)
Austin Lewis (Augusta Christian)
Michael Farr (Evans)
Chris Gresham (Evans)
Daron Griffin (Evans)
Josh Sneeder (Greenbrier)
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