It was very early, but the opportunity was there as Brooke Mackelburg stepped up to the plate.
With one perfect connection, Mackelburg provided the distance her team needed with a first-inning grand slam during Greenbrier’s 9-1 win in five innings against Houston County in Wednesday’s Region 2-AAAAA Tournament.
With Greenbrier’s victory, the winner of today’s Houston County-Jones County game must then beat the Lady Wolfpack twice to win the region.
Greenbrier, which will be at home again, plays at 6 p.m. today, with a second game at 8 if it loses the first.
“I just really wanted to pull through for us,” said Mackelburg, who also had an RBI double in the fifth.
Starting with Kirsten McMonigle’s single, the Lady Wolfpack (24-6) saw their first three batters reach, and Houston County didn’t record a second out until Greenbrier had already put five on the scoreboard.
Backed by the early cushion, Greenbrier starting pitcher Kirsten Titus battled through a few threats and allowed just the one run.
In fact, for three consecutive innings, Houston County had at least two runners on base. But besides an RBI single by Kristie Schimming in the fourth, Titus had a solution for each jam.
In the second, she got the last two hitters out. In the third, Titus fell behind 3-0 with the bases loaded. But after she rallied to make it 3-2, she fooled the batter into hitting a weak grounder.
Finally, in the fourth, two fly balls followed the Schimming single, with right fielder Maddie Hunt making a nice grab on a low fly.
Though the Lady Wolfpack’s bats were quiet in the fourth, they came through with three RBI at-bats in the fifth. Emily Weatherman’s single past the third baseman finalized the victory.
With the win, Greenbrier needs to win just one more game to get a No. 1 seed for the state tournament.
“We’re home in the first round of state. That was goal No. 1,” Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. “Goal No. 2 is to win the region title.”