The Lady Bruins (30-6) know Columbus and the state tournament pretty well.
Northwest reached the final destination three of the previous four years and is aiming for a third consecutive trip.
Standing in the way of the defending Class 4A state champs is a trip to Marist to face the Lady War Eagles (20-11), who also have a successful history with Class 4A state championships in 2008 and 2009.
It’s just another step in the season-long journey for Northwest.
“It’s how we approach everything, from the regular season to the region tournament and then first and second rounds of state,” Lady Bruins coach Jason Brooker said. “It’s just the next step. You can’t worry about the one after until you get through this one.”
Marist won Region 6 but needed three games to get past Lumpkin County in the first round.
In the only meeting between the two teams this season during the Cherokee Invitational on Sept. 6, Northwest won 4-0.
“They have a couple girls who can swing the bat,” Brooker said. “BriLeigh (Baggett) got out of a couple jams. She pitched really well. She struck out a lot and didn’t walk any.”
Baggett, the Lady Bruins’ ace, has repeated strong pitching performances a lot during this season’s crunch time.
Baggett and Northwest swept LaGrange 1-0 and 5-2 in last week’s first-round series. In her last nine starts, Baggett has pitched three shutouts and allowed three runs or fewer in four other performances.
Brooker said Marist showcased a strong pitcher in the two teams’ first meeting, but the Lady War Eagles had to use a different pitcher in the deciding third game of their first-round series.
“Evidently, Lumpkin hit the pitcher we saw pretty good, from what I hear,” Brooker said. “So I don’t know who we will face.”
The most promising development for a post-season run was the Lady Bruins’ offensive output in the second game of the doubleheader against LaGrange.
After managing to push across one run in the opener for a win, the Lady Bruins scored five in the nightcap.