The intensity was high from the get-go at Lady Spartan Field on Monday, June 14 when Greenbrier East welcomed in undefeated and number 1 ranked St. Albans in the Region 3, best-of-three championship series.
East used focus, poise and resilience for an incredible 5-4 victory in what may arguably be the best game to ever be played on that field, considering the outcome and the strength of the opponent.
With a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh frame, the Spartans lost that lead when the Red Dragons got two critical runs on doubles by Tayven Stephenson and Gracie Payne.
Then, East trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but that is when senior Annabelle Honaker stepped in the box as cool as a cucumber. She singled past the third baseman on a 3-2 count with two outs, which scored Brooke Davis and Aubrey Glover for the dramatic victory.
Glover slid headfirst into home for her celebratory reaction.
The large crowd on hand went absolutely nuts.
St. Albans got things started in the second inning when Taylor Glancey drove in one run on a single.
East evened things up at 2-all in the bottom of the fourth inning when Olivia Plybon ripped a double that brought home Lindsey Black who had also doubled to get on base.
Josi Ervin was the winning pitcher for the Spartans. The sophomore lefty was excellent on the biggest stage so far in her young career. She allowed ten hits and four runs over seven innings and struck out six. She seemed to always make a perfect pitch when she needed one.
Stephenson took the loss for St. Albans. She surrendered five runs on eight hits over six and two-thirds innings with 11 strikeouts. Only a sophomore herself, Stephenson is already being looked at and offered by several Division 1 programs.
East had eight hits in the game. Glover and Black both had multiple hits.
St. Albans totaled 10 hits in the game. Nunley, Stephenson and Payne each racked up multiple hits for St. Albans.
The Red Dragons are now 28-1 on the season. East improved to 19-6.
The Spartans lead the series 1-0 and played at Saint Albans for Game 2 on Tuesday, June 15. Check back for that result soon.