Originally created 10/07/04

Glover chases title for coach



Greenbrier's Kristan Glover had her worst outing of the season Sept. 16.

The senior pitcher missed her spots, didn't have her best velocity and was tired.

She still struck out six and gave up only two runs in an 8-2 win over Evans.

That's how good Glover is; even when she is off, the opposition can't muster much of an attack.

Glover's right arm has led the Wolfpack to the state playoffs every year of her high school career.

As the staff ace, Glover has led Greenbrier to three straight region titles, and coach Garrett Black hopes a fourth is coming when the Wolfpack plays host to Baldwin in the region tournament beginning Saturday.

Under Glover's watch, the Wolfpack have lost only one region contest and have never lost to county rivals Lakeside, Evans or Harlem.

"Impact-wise, she is the greatest player in Greenbrier's history," Black said. "She put us on a level to where we could compete with any school in the state."

Glover's statistical impact is unmistakable. She is closing in on becoming the first reported player in the state's fastpitch history to post 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in a career. Currently, Glover has 93 wins and 938 strikeouts. She would become only the fourth player in the nation's history to accomplish the feat, according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

"They are just numbers," Glover said. "If I didn't have great teams behind me, I never would have achieved those numbers."

When she wraps her fingers around a softball, Glover becomes one of the most dangerous high school pitchers in the short history of Georgia fastpitch.

"It would be hard to find a pitcher as scary as Kristan Glover," Oconee County head coach Brian Dickens said after Glover and Greenbrier beat his team, 3-0. "She is simply one of the more intimidating competitors around."

Armed with an array of a half-dozen pitches, Glover throws as hard as any pitcher in the state.

She has touched 65 mph on a radar gun, which is roughly equal to 98 mph in baseball.

Lakeside coach Jay Matthews says she is the best pitcher in the state.

"She can do just about anything she wants on the mound," he said.

Glover's go-to pitch, the rise-ball, makes batters look foolish.

"When I put down the fingers for the rise-ball, I basically knew that a strikeout was coming," said Ashlee LaFontaine, Glover's catcher for three years who is now a freshman at Erskine College. "That is a dominating pitch."

Glover's status as one of the state's best pitchers was cemented four years ago when the then-13-year-old claimed the job of staff ace for Black.

"I could tell how we played when she was on the mound," Black said. "But it was the seniors who told me that she should be the ace."

The freshman responded to the challenge, posting a 20-6 record with a 1.22 ERA and 172 strikeouts. With Glover leading the charge, the Wolfpack made it to the Elite Eight in 2001 and 2002 but were eliminated after two games in both seasons.

The 2002 exit was especially difficult as Glover posted a minuscule ERA of 0.20 and yielded only five runs all season while going 23-4. The team lost only four games; all the losses were 1-0.

"It was hard to go to the state finals my first two seasons and then go two and out," said Glover, who threw six of her career 15 no-hitters her sophomore season.

Greenbrier made it to the Elite Eight again last season, finishing third. Glover finished 30-6 and was named Region Pitcher of the Year for the third straight season and was named All-State.

Greenbrier entered the 2004 season ranked No. 1 with lofty expectations.

"The pressure doesn't bother me; I kind of like it," Glover said. "It is easier to deal with, considering the teammates I have behind me."

The Wolfpack responded to the pressure, winning six games over ranked opponents and entering the state playoffs at No. 1.

Glover said she has accomplished just about everything she could at Greenbrier including extending the school's region title streak to eight years - every year the program has been around. She has also procured a scholarship offer from Tennessee Tech.

"The only thing left is a state title," she said. "Coach Black pours his heart and soul into this program, and getting him a title would mean so much to me."

Reach Jonathan Heeter at 868-1222, ext. 116 or jonathan.heeter@augustachronicle.com.