In the GaSports.com annual softball preseason coaches poll, the Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack was ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA.
Two weeks later, that same squad stands atop the first regular-season coaches poll with a No. 1 ranking after a 7-0 start to the season. On Monday, the Lady Wolfpack validated the top ranking with the most dominant win of the early season.
Greenbrier traveled to Harlem and defeated the Lady Bulldogs 16-0 in three innings.
"It's a good way to start off the week," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "We had two great practices Friday and Saturday, and we came out swinging the bats today."
The Lady Wolfpack batted around in the first inning and scored eight runs before Harlem had a chance to bat. When the Lady Bulldog lineup finally went to the plate, Greenbrier pitcher Kassie Bailey (5-0) cruised to her third shutout of the season with a complete game one-hitter. Greenbrier's Robyn Butler added to the offensive onslaught with a two-run home run.
Harlem (2-4) has endured a grueling early season schedule better than most teams its size. The Class AAA school has seen three of its four losses come from Class AAAA schools. Although it hasn't allowed for many wins, Harlem coach Melissa Chase said the tough schedule was set up intentionally.
"I want them to see how a better team plays and learn from what they do," Chase said. "Their attitude when they get in the box needs to be they're going to get a hit."
Chase said Harlem's early season experiences has helped it prepare for the Region 3N-AAA schedule that starts Thursday against Glenn Hills High School. Greenbrier also will begin region play this week with a road trip to Statesboro on Tuesday.
The trip through the region schedule will be a first for two Lady Wolfpack starters. The team is young compared to past years, and freshmen starters Kaila Hunt and Ashlyn Masters are experiencing varsity action for the first time.
It was Hunt and Masters who led the way against Harlem with a home run each. So far this season, the two are hitting a combined 15-for-33 with 14 RBI.
"We compete against each other," Masters said of her relationship with Hunt. "If she gets a hit, I've got to get a base hit then, too."
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