After winning softball region championships from 1996 to 2010, the Lady Wolfpack were shut out in 2011.
It didn’t take them long to get back to their title-winning ways, however, beating Jones County, 4-3 on Thursday, to take the Region 2-AAAAA crown.
“We take a lot of pride in region titles, we really do,” said coach Garrett Black, who has been at the helm from the beginning. “I’m just very proud of these kids because we have really grown up over the last three weeks.”
The Lady Wolfpack (25-6) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Lady Greyhounds (16-16-1) scratched out two runs in the sixth inning and had a run in and a runner on first with two outs in the seventh inning. Jones County’s Kaitlyn Woodward hit a dribbler up the first-base line that Brooke Mackelburg had to field, whirl and throw to second baseman Emily Weatherman to nip Woodward for the game’s final out.
“I was back, so I was just charging that ball so hard and I was just so lucky that Emily was there,” said Mackelburg.
That play put the final touch on the tournament for sophomore pitcher Kirsten Titus, who went 3-0 in two days, including a 5-4 win over Jones County in the tournament’s first game.
Titus beat Houston County. 9-1, putting the Lady Wolfpack in the finale.
“I knew all the girls had my back so I trusted them,” Titus said of the final two innings.
Titus kept the Lady Greyhounds off balance through the first five innings as she got 13 groundball outs and two infield pop-ups.
Taylor Dupree got things started in the first inning, doubling in Maddie Hunt.
The Lady Wolfpack added three more in the second with an RBI single from Kirsten McMonigle, an RBI hit by pitch from Hunt and a sacrifice fly from Dupree.
The Lady Wolfpack have home-field advantage up to the finals as long as they keep winning.
“Whoever’s going to Columbus is going through our field,” Black said.