Greenbrier High School's softball team made its run to the Class AAAAA state finals with defense.
Wolfpack coach Garrett Black had preached it all season. And once they reached the finals, the Wolfpack allowed only two runs in three games.
But Greenbrier's bats went cold. And the two runs the Wolfpack allowed were enough to bounce the 'Pack from the state playoffs.
Black's team finished fifth.
"As far as pitching and defense, I don't know if we could play any better," Black said. "It just came down to our bats (going) cold for two days."
The Wolfpack beat Cherokee 1-0 on Oct. 23 before losing 1-0 to eventual state champion Mill Creek in the evening. In its first game in the losers' bracket, Greenbrier lost 1-0 to Peachtree Ridge.
The loss ended the Wolfpack's first season in Class AAAAA. Black's team won its 13th consecutive region championship and returns almost everyone to next year's squad, including pitchers Savanah Coon and Katie Tracy, and middle infielders Ashlyn Masters and Kaila Hunt.
"I'm still proud of the girls," Black said. "To finish fifth in our first year of AAAAA, to keep the region streak alive -- I think we have a lot to build on next year. We have everybody coming back."
Evans faced similar troubles in the Class AAAA state finals.
The Region 3-AAAA champions lost to eventual state champion Marist 1-0 to open the finals. The Knights took the War Eagles into an extra inning, in which Marist scored its lone run.
Laura Brown pitched the first five innings for the Knights, and Jenny Shepherd pitched the final three.
The Knights beat Lee County after two extra innings to advance in the losers' bracket before falling 4-0 to Sandy Creek. Shepherd pitched a complete game against Lee County and also hit a home run during the Knights' 3-1, nine-inning win.
Harlem, which finished second to Evans in Region 3-AAAA, lost its opening game of the South Sectional, 7-6, to Alcovy. The Bulldogs were then eliminated with a 13-8 loss to Ware County.
Area volleyball teams fall short on the state level
All four Columbia County volleyball teams qualified for the GHSA playoffs. None made it out of the first round.
Lakeside came the closest, taking Lee County to five games. The Panthers dropped the fifth game 15-6.
Harlem lost 3-0 in the first round to Brunswick. The Bulldogs fell 25-21, 28-26 and 25-15.
Evans lost 3-0 to Glynn Academy with scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-11.
Greenbrier, playing in Class AAAAA, won its first game against Etowah before dropping the next three to lose the match 3-1.
to hold tournament
Evans High School's baseball program will hold its annual golf tournament Nov. 9 at Forest Hills Golf Club. All proceeds from the golf tournament go directly to supporting the baseball program. Cost is $240 a team or $60 per player. For questions or additional information, call coach Ricky Beale at (706) 863-1198 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evans vs. Richmond Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Greenbrier vs. Redan, 7:30 p.m.
Lakeside at Josey, 7:30 p.m.
Harlem at Westside, 7:30 p.m.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.