Greenbrier High School softball coach Garrett Black has heard the saying, "All good things must come to an end." That's exactly what happened last year when seven senior starters played in their final Lady Wolfpack game.
Almost 10 months later, Black said that even with the loss of last year's stars he hopes the Greenbrier softball winning tradition will continue. More specifically, the Lady Wolfpack hope to keep the streak of 10 straight region championships alive.
"You hear somebody say this is going to be the year the streak ends with the region titles," Black said, "but even though we lost seven starters we still have Tiffany Blackburn, and they don't."
Blackburn, one of three seniors on this year's squad, will lead a large group of underclassmen on the Wolfpack diamond this season. Last year's team hit the ground running with an 11-1 start to the season, with Blackburn's bat causing much of the damage. Black said this season will require a longer wind up.
"We're going to be very young. It's a situation where you better get us early because I feel like we're going to get better as the season goes on," Black said.
The task of replacing last year's stars started in the pitcher's circle, where Austin Long, bound for Brigham Young University's Hawaii campus, ruled the rubber. This season, junior Kassie Bailey will move from the No. 2 spot to the starting ace role.
"We've got three other ninth-grade pitchers that I feel very comfortable putting out there," Black said. "We're not going to be overpowering like we've been in the past, but I feel like we're going to play good defense and our pitching's going to give us a chance to win."
Defensively, Black said the Wolfpack had several battles going on for the starting positions at first base, third base and in the outfield. Blackburn, who started at third base last season, won't be at the corner this year. She accepted a position move to help the team.
"We moved Tiffany behind the plate," Black said. "She can play it, and she's going to do nothing but get better back there.
"I don't think we're going to have to worry about people running on us anymore. I'd like to find somebody that has a better arm than she does behind the plate."
The Lady Wolfpack roster will get its first test of the year today on the road at the Madison County Leadoff Classic. Greenbrier will hit the road three more times before returning for its first home game of the season Sept. 7 against Evans High School.
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