For more than a decade, the Greenbrier High School softball program has dominated its region. The Lady Wolfpack entered the Region 3-AAAA Tournament last week with the burden of keeping alive a title streak that started in 1996.
Region championship No. 12 wasn't easy, but Greenbrier's winning tradition prevailed.
Greenbrier knocked off Glynn Academy and Lakeside on Monday, then beat Evans twice to claim the title Tuesday.
Lady Wolfpack head coach Garrett Black said that of the 12 region championships, this one has been the hardest.
"I think it really has. I think we lost our swagger a little bit there the last three weeks of the season, and that's been a struggle," he said.
The swagger usually attributed to the Greenbrier softball program faltered during a weekend that saw the team go 3-3 at an out-of-town tournament, then lose to region rival Evans at home two days later.
It was as rock-bottom as a team with a 21-5 record could get. Since that weekend, the Lady Wolfpack has gone 8-0, including the four wins in Brunswick last week.
"Two things have happened over the last three weeks: No. 1, we've gotten some rest, and No. 2, we've gotten some good practice time in," Black said. "We played extremely well defensively this week, and that's our bread and butter."
The Lady Wolfpack didn't commit a single error in a 2-1 win over Evans in the Region 3-AAAA Tournament.
Senior Kassie Bailey and sophomore Katie Tracy combined for five strikeouts in seven innings. The rest of the outs came from a Greenbrier defense that re-established itself.
"We know every time we step on the field we've got a chance to win if we play good defense," Black said. "I think we got the swagger back a little bit today."
The 2-1 win matched the 1-0 victory Greenbrier earned over Evans in the winners' bracket championship Tuesday.
Both were close games that remained in doubt until the final inning. The Lady Wolfpack, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, took the lead early in both games and held off an Evans team ranked No. 9.
"When we got those two runs in the first inning, that was pretty sweet," Greenbrier senior Elizabeth Gaston said. "I knew we had it then."
Even though Greenbrier's first team goal - to win the region title - was met, Gaston said a new season will soon begin.
The Lady Wolfpack will advance to the Class AAAA South State Sectional on Friday and Saturday as a No. 1 seed.
Of the 32 teams that reached the state playoffs, only eight will advance to the state finals.
"We like to say everything now is just icing on the cake," Black said. "We're going to go play hard, play our best and see how the ball rolls. That's all you can do, and all you can ask of the girls."
Greenbrier will face Class 1-AAAA No. 4 seed Americus-Sumter in the first round of state sectional play Friday at 4 p.m.
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