Greenbrier will have to play and win one more game if it is to return to familiar territory.
The Wolfpack split two games with Whitewater, winning the first 3-2 and losing the second 6-0, on Wednesday at Greenbrier in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. The deciding game will be played at 4 p.m. today for a spot in Columbus and the Elite Eight, a round Greenbrier has reached in 10 consecutive seasons.
"We didn't swing the bats well enough," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "We got the clutch hits (in Game 1), but we're going to have to hit tomorrow."
The top of the lineup helped the Wolfpack rally to take the first game, as the visiting Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, with Kaitlyn Johnson posting an RBI. Greenbrier's offense struggled against pitcher Kristy Cook, who allowed only three hitters to reach safely in the first four innings, not counting an outfield error.
Greenbrier was only eight outs from defeat when Liz Kelligan smacked a two-run home run to right-center field to knot the score at 2.
Pitcher Savanah Coon and the defense kept the score tied in the seventh when a grounder retired the hitter and the base runner was thrown out trying to advance to third on the throw to complete the double play.
That set the stage for the Wolfpack's bats, as Taylor Dupree brought home Haley Smith with a game-winning, walk-off single with two outs. The ball fell just out of the reach of the diving right fielder.
"It was one of those moments where you don't even know you're running," Smith said of coming around to score. "I knew Taylor had my back."
But the hits came sporadically in the second game as Greenbrier collected only four off Whitewater's Erica Bell.
Meanwhile, Coon returned to the circle in Game 2 after earning the win in the first game, but the Wildcats forced a pitching change by scoring four early runs off Coon.
The first four Whitewater hitters reached base in the first inning, as three hits and a couple of errors put the Wildcats up 3-0 after only one inning.
Greenbrier had a few chances to climb back into the contest, as Morgan Tickerhoof reached base with one out in the second and Kelligan posted a leadoff single in the third. The Wolfpack's last and perhaps biggest scoring threat came in the seventh, when Rachel Nimmons singled and Kelligan was hit by a pitch. But by that point, it was 6-0, and a groundout to the shortstop ended the game.
"It's two good teams with a shot at Columbus," Black said. "There's no next week. It's tomorrow and do-or-die."