The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack softball team is off to a hot start and remains the only undefeated team in region play for 2A-AAAAA.
Coach Garrett Black attributes much of the success to what he considers the “best-kept secret in Georgia.”
Third baseman Kirsten McMonigle has impressed Black and helped lead Greenbrier to a 14-3 start to the season, including 2-0 in region play. McMonigle had two multihit games in this past weekend’s tournament in Columbia County.
Black said McMonigle has fun on the field but remains intense in order to get the job done.
“As a freshman, I’ve never coached a kid who had her instincts for the game of softball,” Black said. “She has great instincts, great feel for the game. But I think a lot of that goes back to her passion for playing the game. When she plays softball, she’s having fun, this isn’t a job.”
McMonigle, a sophomore, has averaged seven runs per game.
Her defense at third base has remained steady despite being young, and the instincts Black attributed to her are a big reason for a consistent glove.
“She’s that lead domino,” Black said. “Normally, she leads the game off with a hit, it’s just contagious. Her energy, not only at practice but in games, rarely have I ever coached a lot of kids like her in that she’s still a kid when she’s out there.”
Another key to Greenbrier’s early-season success is the arm of junior Kirsten Titus. She threw a perfect game over four innings in a win against Grovetown on Sept. 10, and she followed it with a five-inning one-hitter against Cross Creek the next day. She also threw a five-inning one-hitter against Parkview on Saturday.
“The biggest thing is she’s in command of all her pitches, especially the changeup, throwing it any time in the count,” Black said. “If you can change speeds in this game at any time in the count, you’re going to be tough to beat.”
CONTINUED SUCCESS: Another tough arm to beat is Harlem’s Amber Garrett, who has recorded multiple no-hitters already in her varsity career despite being just a sophomore.
Garrett threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 3-0 win over Screven County on Sept. 5, continuing a pattern of dominating pitching that goes back to her freshman season. That pitching led Harlem to a Region 3-AA title and trip to the AA Elite 8 in 2012.
Garrett began the 2013 season adapting to new pitching mechanics, and it took some time for her to adjust. But she has come on strong when it matters most, picking up a key win over Westside on Thursday that put Harlem in first place in the region. The Lady Bulldogs are 15-5.
“She started off with a new wind-up, but she’s come through and is throwing the ball well,” coach Michael Leverett said. “When I put her out there, I know we have a chance to win.”
NATIONAL HONOR: Glascock County’s softball team is thriving this season behind the arm of a national player of the week.
Victoria Griswell was named the Maxpreps/NFCA National High School Player of the Week for Sept. 2-8.
During the week, Griswell hit .538 with eight stolen bases while going 4-0 with a 0.24 ERA in the circle.
Griswell entered last week 11-0 with a 0.11 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 61 innings, leading Glascock County to a 12-game winning streak to start the season. The Lady Panthers are 13-1.