No one can accuse Greenbrier High School head baseball coach Rodney Holder of being afraid to play the best.
The two-time defending Class AAAA state champs have already played last year's AAAA runner-up, Heritage (Greenbrier won 12-2 in five innings). The Pack also will square off with AAA power South Effingham, South Carolina AAAA runner-up North Augusta, AAA Carrolton, familiar AAAA foe Marist, and AAAAA powerhouses Parkview and Brookwood.
Greenbrier is going to test its preseason AAAA No. 1 ranking. Below is a look at just how good these teams were a year ago:
Heritage: 32-6, AAAA state runner-up
South Effingham: 24-12, AAA state semifinals
Carrollton: 21-10, AAA state semifinals
North Augusta: 25-7, AAAA South Carolina runner-up
Brookwood: 27-9, AAAAA state semifinals
Marist: 26-9, AAAA semifinals (eliminated by Greenbrier)
Though Parkview won just 17 games last year, this year it is considered one of the state's top programs.
Throw in region matchups with Evans, Statesboro and Lakeside, and there is no denying the Pack is playing one of the most demanding schedules in the state.
The nonregion schedule is brutal, but this is something Greenbrier has done for years. Ed Williams scheduled several tough tests for his teams at Greenbrier, and Holder has followed suit. They feel like it will prepare the team for the rigors of region and state tournament play. It has paid off the past two seasons.
Kudos to Harlem and Evans
The Evans Knights have showed some early season grit by winning two one-run, extra-inning ball games against solid opponents. First, the Knights knocked off Lee County 4-3. Evans then beat a very good Westside team 3-2 in eight innings.
Westside threw lefty ace Chandler Hall. The Knights did not exactly light it up at the plate, but they found a way to win.
Despite those victories, the Knights found the going tough Tuesday afternoon against Harlem. The Bulldogs overwhelmed Evans for an 11-1 victory.
It appears there will be plenty of parity around the county this year, with the possible exception of Greenbrier.
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