Natasha Seals is about as excited as she's ever been in her life.
She has good reason.
The starting right fielder for Thomson High School and her teammates find themselves in the midst of the Georgia Class AAA girls' softball state playoffs in Columbus this week. The team has already swept two opponents to get to the finals: Shaw of Columbus and Spalding County of Griffin.
Asked on Monday whether the Lady Bulldogs can win a state title, Seals replied confidently, "Yes, we can. We've come too far not to win it."
Seals, the 17-year-old daughter of Mattie and David Cheatham, of Thomson, admitted she would be disappointed if her team doesn't win the state title.
"If we win, that would be something really big," said Seals, one of four seniors on the team and considered one of the team's top clutch hitters. "But even if we don't win the state championship, getting this far has really been very special and memorable for me and my teammates."
Either way, Seals said, the experience will help leave a legacy at Thomson that she will long remember.
"It would really be great if we won, but if we don't, we can still be proud of where we've helped take the softball program at Thomson High," she said. "We've already made history by getting to the state playoffs. That's pretty special in itself."
This is Seals' fourth year playing softball for the school. She earned a starting position in the outfield her junior year. During her prep career, she has played every position in the outfield.
"I've had a great time," Seals said. "We've had to work real hard, but I've enjoyed it. I really have."
Seals said she believes the team has the mind-set to bring back the school's first state softball crown.
"I feel like we've got the group to do it this year," she said. "We've got good team leadership, and I think that will help us down the stretch."
For the past month, Seals has been pumping herself up mentally for the region and state playoffs.
On a dry-erase board in her bedroom, Seals has written, "Lady 'Dogs, determined, courageous, productive, and history-making. That's all it takes to be number one."
Seals said she's been reading those words over and over for the past month.
"They really make a lot of sense to me," she said. "Those words describe this team very well."
Seals plans to attend Fort Valley State University to become a registered nurse after graduation.
She has a big family, four brothers and two sisters. Seals and her family are members of Mount Aldred CME Church in Warrenton.