The opportunity was ruined when Molly Lillis was tagged out trying to score after a wild pitch bounded off the backstop, right back in front of the plate to Evans catcher Taylor McChesney.
“I was kind of upset,” Rowland said.
“He called her out at the plate, so I knew I was mad carrying that over to my next at-bat.”
The Greenbrier senior returned to the plate to lead off the sixth inning intent on making her mark. She did.
Her line-drive home run padded the slim lead and helped Greenbrier to a 2-0 victory over Evans in a Region 2-AAAA North matchup.
“Leading up to it, we knew this was probably going to be our hardest game because Evans is a good team,” Rowland said. “… We’ve gotten a lot better since the beginning of the season.”
Greenbrier – ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA – relied on what coach Garrett Black referred to as the Wolfpack’s “bread and butter.”
“Defense is why we’ve been successful in the past,” he said. “There was some good situational defense for us today. We got out of some jams.”
Greenbrier (7-1, 3-0) got on the board in the first inning when Morgan Tickerhoof’s RBI single scored Taylor Dupree, who had reached on an error.
After that, Knights starter Brooke Sarver effectively shut down the Wolfpack offense, aside from the bases-loaded jam in the fifth and Rowland’s homer.
Evans (6-4, 3-1) had at least one runner on base every inning. But Tickerhoof stranded 11 base runners in seven innings to earn the complete-game win.
“My defense came up clutch, especially on that last one,” said Tickerhoof, referring to a rocket hit by Evans senior Kristyna Vaughn with runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
The line drive went right at center fielder Monica Mullis for the final out of the game.
“I knew I had to do something, because I wanted to score those runs,” Vaughn said. “So I tried to hit it out.
“It makes me confident for the next game,” she said of making a good swing under pressure. “Hopefully, we can take them next time. I think we can do it.”