It has been a year of history-made stories for the Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School in terms of softball. And the season is far from being over.
In fact this time of the year is known as the playoff season. And for the first time ever, the Thomson team finds themselves in the thick of those playoffs. They are vying to become the 2009 Class AAA State Champions. This week in Columbus, the Lady Bulldogs plan to accomplish just such a feat.
Columbus is the site of the finals in girls' fast-pitch softball. And Thomson is one of eight teams in their classification still in the hunt to win the title there.
Thomson journeyed to Columbus earlier today to play Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe at 3:30 p.m. The Atlanta-area team defeated Elbert County to advance to the finals. Thomson, meanwhile, swept the Spaulding County Lady Jaguars in the best-of-three series last Saturday in Griffin, downing the Lady Jaguars 10-2 in Game No. 1 and 9-2 in Game No. 2.
"It still hasn't sunk in what this team has done in the first and second rounds," said a jubilant Thomson head coach Jason Osborn, via telephone while returning home from Griffin late last Saturday night. As of that night, he noted, it still had not hit him that his team is actually playing in the finals of the state playoffs this week.
"I'm so proud of the way my girls played against Spaulding County," added coach Osborn. "They made up their minds to go out and get the job done. And they didn't let up until that job was done."
Now that Thomson has made it into the finals of the state playoffs, he feels confident that his team has a realistic chance of going all the way.
"It would be great for us to go down there and win a state championship," said coach Osborn, who has been working to build a successful girls' softball program at Thomson High School for the past four years. "That's what we're playing for right now -- to win a state championship."
Team members and the coaching staff received a special treat as they neared the city limits of Thomson after their trip to Griffin.
The team bus was met by Thomson Police Department Officers Matt Massey and Patrick Sanders who escorted the bus through town. Dozens of faithful fans cheered them as they passed Knox Shopping Center en route to the school.
Upon arriving at the school, players and coaches were welcomed home with rousing applause by players' families and loyal supporters.