BLOOMSBURG - Four years ago, Greenwood entered uncharted softball territory when the Wildcats began a four-year reign as the District 3 Class A champs.
But if you look over the history - the stats, the people, the opponents - you might come to the conclusion that this team, the one that just ended its season in the PIAA final four, was the unlikeliest of semifinalists.
"Maybe a little bit unlikely - I think if you ask the girls they wouldn't have expected to be here at this point," second-year coach Troy Gantt admitted. "You have to get hot at the right time, and I think these guys did. "Good defense, good pitching, get hot at the right time, catch a few breaks - and you can end up here."
The third of the four teams to enter state play was the best throughout its regular-season, winning the Tri-Valley League - the only time the Wildcats got the TVL crown in the four-year span - and came into the playoffs with multi-sport all-star Autumn Pellman swinging a bat and league MVP Anna Heggenstaller in the circle.
If, in 2011, Greenwood was a final four team, no one would have been surprised. Instead, the Perry County club fell out of the tournament in a first-round loss to Old Forge - coincidentally, the same District 2 school that sent both Wildcat basketball teams home in their 2010 tournaments.
After the first two years, the softball team's state record was 1-2, as the Wildcats logged a first-round win over Muncy in their first contest at that level, fell to Claysburg-Kimmel. A year later, it was Northeast Bradford, the same team Greenwood beat in the quarterfinals this year, that ended its season.
With just a few schools, the District 3 tournament has never been a big one, and this year the Wildcats were struggling against Millersburg, a sub-.500 team from their own league, until the seventh inning. That experience was a good one; late in Monday's semifinal, when A.J. Seigel cracked an RBI triple to cut Southern Columbia's lead to three, anything seemed possible.
The game, she reminded the District 4 runners-up, was not over until the final out was recorded.
"No, I don't think so, and these girls don't have any quit in them," Gantt said. "They battled to the end - we just dug ourselves too big a hole early."
Perhaps the team fought so hard because the elephant returns to the room next season - Upper Dauphin, long the top program in District 3 Class A, returns to the small-school division after two cycles as a Class AA school.
"We have our work cut out for us," Gantt admits. "We're low in numbers to begin with, we're losing four great seniors. They're going to be tough to replace."
And next year, is, well, next year.
"That's a long ways off," he said. "We just have to start and get the offseason in, get to work and things will fall where they will next year at this time, I guess."