Jeff Rowland watered down the left side of the infield. Nolan Belcher raked the pitching mound. Yes, there's still work to do at Greenbrier, even after a win.
The Class AAAA defending champion flexed its muscles Tuesday with an eight-run third inning and Belcher finished off Brunswick with his homer in the Wolfpack's 11-1 six-inning win over Brunswick in the region semifinals.
The victory locked up home-field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs, a small step toward the Wolfpack defending their championship.
Greenbrier (20-4) will play Effingham County on Friday in the Region 3-AAAA finals. The Wolfpack is seeking its ninth region championship since 1997.
"This is one step," Rowland said. "It just helps you in the later rounds of the state playoffs if you can get that No. 1 seed."
"This is another step to getting a state ring," Belcher said. "I think it's just as important as state, almost."
Greenbrier coach Rodney Holder expects little insider information for the upcoming game. His older brother, Buddy, is the strength and conditioning coach and assistant football coach at Effingham County
"I don't know if he's going to give me any insight," Rodney said, "but I'm sure going to go at him hard."
Against Brunswick (14-10), Greenbrier pounded out 12 hits. Nine of 10 batters collected at least one hit with Rowland (3-for-4) and Belcher (2-for-2) leading the way.
Belcher also notched the victory. He entered in the third inning in relief of starter Pat McGowan and struck out six while allowing three hits and no runs in three innings.
Brunswick, which left 11 runners on base, scored in the second and threatened against Belcher in the third. With one out, Rory Mock singled and Cason Mobley followed with a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. But Belcher struck out Chris Newsome and Jay Repko to end the inning.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.