The No. 8 Lady Blue Devils (19-6) have played the third-ranked team in state, Heard County, twice and played region champion Bowdon three times during the season. The almost three-hour trip to Blairesville to face No. 4 Union County for Wednesday's 4 p.m. doubleheader will be just another day at the office.
"We're happy to go [to state], of course. We wanted to go as a higher seed, but it didn't work out that way. Hopefully we can find whatever we need to find to get to Columbus. That's our ultimate goal, that has not changed," Bremen coach Amy Pointer said. "
"Whenever you play weaker teams you kind of get a false idea of how good you really are. Then when you play better teams with quality pitching and defense you have to fight and find out what you're really made out of. We know our limits, we know our capabilities and we have to play to the best of our abilities."
Of the Panthers (18-11) losses only three came against other Class AA opponents and two of those came against eventual region champions Jefferson.
While Pointer wanted her team to be preparing to host a playoff series as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, the Lady Blue Devils are in the postseason during their first season playing up in Class AA.
"It's been quite an experience. There's been a different caliber of teams as far as who were playing and going to a different part of the state has been an adjustment, but not bad," Pointer said.
If Bremen hopes to advance past the best-two-out-of-three first round series they will have to regain their focus. Pointer felt her team didn't take the right attitude into the Region 5-AA tournament that produced an 11-2 loss against Heard County in the region semifinal game that led to the Lady Blue Devils playing in the first round on the road.
"We cannot lay down ever again or we will be done quickly. We don't want that, definitely don't want that," Pointer said. "Sometimes in the travel ball world they get the false idea that they can play another tournament in a couple weeks and it goes on all year long. With this, after two losses, there's not another [tournament] for a whole year. We have to fight that mindset in the high school world."
Last season when the Lady Blue Devils made the Class A playoffs they had to go through a play-in round to get into the true first round of the tournament. This year, playing in Class AA, Bremen won't have to go through that preliminary series and will jump right into the Region 8 runners up.
The two teams have one common opponent, Newnan, during the season. Bremen won that game 11-5 while Union County lost 8-0, but not much stock will be taken with just one game.
"We don't have to do the play-in round, that part of it this year, so that's good. Spend the next two days getting ready for Union County," Pointer said. "We don't know a whole lot about them. They've been fairly successful, they've got one team as an opponent in their schedule we faced and defeated, but you can't place a whole lot on one game. They're not bad, they're No. 2 in their region for a reason. We cannot take them lightly. They've faced some really good competition and done well with it."
If the teams split Wednesday's doubleheader there will be a third game on Thursday to decide which team will advance to the second round, but Pointer doesn't plan on Thursday being necessary.
"Hopefully we can win them both and come back home. That's the plan anyway, that's my plan," Pointer said.