Countless hours of practice, games and preparation – including those early mornings to cut grass – all led to this holiday weekend, to these few hours.
The Greenbrier baseball team can win its sixth state title as it travels to face Loganville in the GHSA Class AAAA state championship series. Action begins today at 2 p.m. with a doubleheader, with the potential tiebreaker game scheduled for Monday at 2 p.m.
“It’s kind of a surreal moment,” Greenbrier’s Jordan Hunt said. “But I feel like we have a good chance to win it.”
The Wolfpack (30-3) have already had a victory-filled season including a 21-game winning streak that lasted two months. Greenbrier coach Chris Wilkins said that, while his goal every season is to compete for and win a state title, it felt increasingly more attainable as the wins piled up.
Pitchers Hunt and Austin Robinson have been dominant, as the Wolfpack allowed only 19 runs in 10 combined regional playoff and state playoff games until facing Whitewater in the state semifinals.
In that series, adversity finally reached Greenbrier. The Wolfpack lost Game 2 to Whitewater and trailed 3-0 in the first inning of Game 3, but Wilkins didn’t panic. He knows his players.
“It’s not arrogance, it’s the trust, the way the season has been,” he said.
Sure enough, pitcher Christian Hill settled in and gave up only two more runs after the tough start. The Wolfpack offense did its part by exploding for 15 runs in only five innings as Greenbrier won by the run rule.
“Our offense is definitely backing up the pitching more now,” said Hunt, who earned the win on the mound and reached base four times in Game 1 of the semifinals.
As a pitcher, Hunt is 4-0 in the playoffs and 10-0 overall this season.
Wilkins said the hitting will need to be just as strong in the championship series against Loganville, which beat Greenbrier in the quarterfinals en route to taking the state title in 2008.
This year, the Red Devils (29-8) have won three winner-take-all third games in the state tournament, including a walk-off win to get past Johns Creek in the semifinals. Star player Clint Frazier – who has hit more than 20 home runs this season – had the winning hit.
It’s a tough task for Greenbrier, but no matter what happens in the next two or three games, Wilkins will look back proudly at this season.
“Win or lose, we’ve won,” Wilkins said. “They fought all year long, and they’re going to fight (today).”