COLUMBUS, Ga. - Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black can almost feel the state championship trophy.
With a 5-0 victory over Chapel Hill, the Lady Wolfpack (34-5-1) have won 16 consecutive games and are one win from the first state softball title in school history.
"We are in a great position right now," Black said. "We have a big opportunity and I believe in the kids."
Greenbrier will play for the state title at noon against the winner of Lakeview-Ft. Ogelthorpe and Chapel Hill. Since the Wolfpack haven't suffered a defeat, the team they play must beat them twice to win the title.
Whoever Greenbrier plays will have to contend with the white-hot Kristan Glover.
She hasn't given up a run since the region tournament, 42 innings ago. The senior has only given up 12 hits in her past six starts and has 20 shutouts for the season.
"When she's on, I don't think we can be beat," Brittany Leverett said. "Give her five runs and she is better than normal. She is unhittable."
Glover did give up two hits and allowed six base runners - the most she's allowed in the tournament - but got bailed out by great defensive plays.
The biggest came as the Lady Panthers got two on and no outs in the top of the sixth.
Greenbrier first baseman Kristi Nichols made a lunging grab and stepped on first for the inning's first out. On the next play, Nichols caught a line drive and doubled up Kristin Davis at second base to end the inning.
"When I'm not the hitting the ball well, I feel like I have to make up for it some other way," Nichols said.
It was the second double play in the late innings for Greenbrier in consecutive games. Tiffany Blackburn made almost the same play in the seventh inning against Stockbridge on Thursday.
"It relaxes Kristan so much when the defense makes a big play," Black said. "I'd put our defense up with any defense in the state of Georgia."
The consensus around Columbus is that the Wolfpack's offense is also one of the best around.
Leverett recovered from a hitless game against Stockbridge with a 3-for-4 game, knocking in two runs on the night. Amanda Glover, Ash Florie and Jessica Borum also had RBI.
"We really cashed in on some opportunities," Black said. "We stranded a few in the first inning but we picked them up later."
The Chapel Hill-Lakeview winner will have to play 21 straight innings without a break to win the title.
"That is a tough thing to do, but either team could do it," Black said. "We just want to win the first one and go home."
Reach Jonathan Heeter at (706) 868-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.