Greenbrier's softball team became a chorus Monday on Evans' softball field.
The Wolfpack belted out Happy Birthday , throwing in the names of coach Garrett Black and teammate Marya Blackledge. The girls' gift had been a 3-1 win over rival Evans in extra innings.
Wolfpack junior Savanah Coon, who asked to bunt to lead off the ninth inning with the game tied at 1, had failed to drop one down her first two tries.
"I was looking to relax, because I get easily overwhelmed," said Coon, who had caught a line drive in right field to end a Knights' scoring threat the previous inning. "I thought I was going to have to lay the bunt down, and I'm a terrible bunter."
Just trying to make contact with two strikes, Coon drilled a line drive over the left field fence for the winning runs. Then, under tie-breaker rules, Coon's teammate, second baseman Kaila Hunt, started the inning at second base.
Wolfpack pitcher Katie Tracy worked the ninth without incident.
The game was the latest in a series of close games between the rivals. Greenbrier beat Evans by the same score during the 2008 season. Each of the teams' regular season meetings have been decided by two runs or less.
"That's why we play them," Evans coach Colette Cassedy said. "We want good games. We want good competition."
The Wolfpack's defensive strategy late was to avoid the Knights' big hitters. After Evans tied the game at 1 in the sixth, Greenbrier loaded the bases by intentionally walking pitcher Jenny Shepherd. Greenbrier then got Shepherd out at second on a fielder's choice.
"I was just real proud of them getting out of the situations we got out of," said Black, who turned 41 Monday.
Greenbrier's defense has undergone a shuffle with the loss of all-state second baseman Ashlyn Masters, who tore the ligaments in her knee before the season and is out for the year.
Black had to shake things up on defense again during the sixth inning when Masters' sister, Lauren, landed hard on her shoulder while diving for a bunt from third base.
Evans had a chance to win with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and a runner in scoring position. Shepherd was intentionally walked to bring up Kristyna Vaughn.
Vaughn laced a line drive directly at Coon in right field.
"I almost had a heart attack," Coon said. "I was like, 'Um, if I don't catch this, it's done.'"
Coon bobbled the ball for a second before securing it to end the inning.
Greenbrier and Evans are scheduled to meet again Sept. 30.
"I don't think anybody was disappointed," Cassedy said.
"I think we got out of it what we needed, and Greenbrier got out of it what they needed. Everybody got to see a good game."
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