Elizabeth Gaston can't be accused of overconfidence. When she stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in a tie game Saturday, the Greenbrier softball senior was unsure of herself.
"I went like 0-for-3 before that one, so I was kind of nervous," she said. "When (Greenbrier softball) coach (Garrett) Black told me to bunt, I was like, 'Oh man, I'm not going to make this.'"
The Lady Wolfpack was tied with Class AAAAA No. 3 Collins Hill when Gaston laid the bunt down the third-base line. A close and controversial play at the plate ended with Greenbrier's Ashlyn Masters called safe at home and Gaston standing on first base with the game-winning hit.
"With a (Class) AAAAA team such as Collins Hill, it's a really big deal if you beat them," Gaston said. "They're a really good ball club with some awesome players."
Greenbrier's 4-3 win over the third-ranked team in Class AAAAA helped further validate the Lady Wolfpack's No. 1 ranking in Class AAAA. The team entered Monday's nonregion game against Thomson with a 15-1 record.
"That's why we like to come up here and play them. I don't mind traveling this far to play good teams like that," Collins Hill softball coach Billy Dooley said. "I don't think classification has anything to do with it."
The state rankings, released each Tuesday, placed Greenbrier at No. 3 in Class AAAA to begin the season and at No. 2 after the first week. They claimed the No. 1 spot last week thanks to a loss by then No. 1 Lakeview out of Fort Oglethorpe.
Black said the No. 1 ranking might be a little high for his ball club at this point in the season.
"I still think a lot of that is based on previous years' success. I think we're a top 15 team if we play well," he said. "I can name eight schools right now in (Class) AAAA that you could give that No. 1 ranking too."
Still, playing games as the top team in the state does have its advantages.
"On the other hand, being No. 1 gives us an opportunity to get better because we're going to see everybody's best," Black said.
Greenbrier returned to region play Tuesday with a key game against Lakeside. The Lady Wolfpack will face Statesboro on the road Thursday before playing host to their own tournament at Patriots Park this weekend.
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