After his team swept Ware County on the road Monday to reach the Class AAAAA state baseball semifinals, we can officially report that Loganville’s Bran Mills has beaten the odds.

Most times, following a legend doesn’t go well.

Yet the first-year Red Devils manager has maintained the high standards that are expected of the school’s baseball program that were established by his legendary predecessor Jeff Segars.

Loganville entered the postseason as the top seed out of a region that’s as tough as it’s ever been. Three of the league’s four playoff teams were still alive this week.

Heading into the state semifinals, Loganville has won 28 games. Through the first three rounds, all sweeps, three games lasted just five innings, their lead so big it invoked the Mercy Rule, and four were shutouts.

When they were finally challenged in the second game of their most recent series against Harris County, they didn’t flinch, displaying the discipline and confidence that’s come to characterize every Red Devils team that’s taken the field over the past two decades.

Loganville, traditionally tough on the mound, is as deep as its ever been, particularly the relief corp. At the plate, while they lack the power numbers of previous teams, they put the ball in play and score in bunches, averaging seven runs a game.

Maybe most impressively, they are nearly flawless in the field.

Most new guys, wanting to establish their own identity, will play the role of bull in a china shop, casting aside long-held traditions, establishing new workout and practice routines, and distancing themselves from the previous administration.

To his credit, Mills knew better than to tinker with the status quo. And why should he?

For starters, he’d been a huge part of creating what is arguably the best prep baseball program in the state. What’s more, as he correctly surmised, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Mills inherited a solid roster for his inaugural season at the the helm of a program where’s he served as an assistant since 2003. But that’s nothing new.

The Red Devils never rebuild, just reload. He could have stepped into the top spot just about any season and enjoyed of roster of talented and ready-for-primetime players.

But talent alone doesn’t win championships. Getting the players to mesh and pull in one direction is the key. To his credit, Mills has done just that.

The transition from legend to understudy has been nearly flawless.

So whether the the Red Devils win the program’s sixth state title or not, this season has been a raging success.

As for Mills, he’s set up for a long and successful head coaching career.

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