Just like a year ago, the Thomson High School Lady Bulldogs will be hosting the first round of the Georgia High School Class AAA softball state playoffs.
Games No. 1 and No. 2 were played Wednesday at the Thomson High field.
Last year, the Lady Bulldogs of head coach Jason Osborn made it all the way to the Elite Eight before being eliminated in a tournament played in Columbus.
"It's great to be back in the state playoffs," said coach Osborn, whose team defeated the Harlem Lady Bulldogs in back-to-back games in Richmond County to win the school's first-ever region softball championship.
"This is what we've been playing for all season is to get back in the state playoffs and take another trip to Columbus."
First things are first, however, before the Lady Bulldogs can even think about such a long journey southbound. Thomson must first get past Americus-Sumter.
Should a third game become necessary in the Thomson-Americus-Sumter series, it will be played at 2:30 p.m. today.
"Their record is not great, but this time of year it is a brand new season," said coach Osborn. "It does not matter what you did during the regular season. All you need this time of year is a chance and I constantly remind our girls of that."
Thomson, who have been runners up the past two years in the Region 3-AAA tournament, played host to Shaw High School of Columbus in the first-round of the state playoffs last year.
So, the Lady Bulldogs have a sense of what it's like to host the state playoffs and to come out victorious.
"To us, there is no better place to play than in front of our great fans and community on our home field," said coach Osborn.
During the season, the Thomson team has had some "very high points and some low points," admitted coach Osborn.
"But most teams go through these. We preach all the time that it is not how or where you start, but how you finish. Those 13 girls turned it on at the right time and did something that has never been done in this community and I am so very proud of them and the other coaches."
He noted that his team isn't quitters. Instead, they are battlers.
"Even after the first loss to Harlem on Tuesday, these girls never quit believing in themselves," said coach Osborn. "How easy would it have been to say, 'we can't win three in a row and beat Harlem twice?'"
He continued saying, "They never once did that. They just got after it. It was 13 girls who refused to lose. Again, I am so proud of this group for having so much fight in them and never thinking about giving up. As I said earlier, all you need is a chance this time of year. Our sights are on Americus right now. We cannot look past anybody. We'd love to make the trip back to Columbus."