The Wildcats also were in the middle of a 10-game winning streak as they had won the first six games of their Region 7-AAAA schedule. At the spring break tournament, Woodland added four more wins.
Flip the calendar to April 2011 and not much resembles the Wildcats' spring break week of a year ago.
Not only is Woodland far from the Walt Disney World Resort -- a 20-game region schedule did not allow for many additional games -- but it also sits in fourth place, unlike last season when it held the top spot.
Though not his choice, Wildcats coach Corey Gochee feels being home this year may be better than playing non-region games a state away.
"I would like to believe it is because [the games] still all matter. I think some of [the games] last year bit us a little bit 'cause they didn't matter as much, so we were able to just go down there and play and take it easy and then we couldn't regain our focus when we got back," Gochee said.
With the second half of its region schedule set to commence today at Johns Creek, Woodland has had little time to allow its focus to sway. In fact, it is the Wildcats' improved focus from game to game that allows them to avoid a prolonged losing streak like the five-game one -- which incidentally came on the heels of their 10-game win streak -- that all but killed their playoff hopes.
Woodland has lost two games in a row just twice this season.
"[We are] able to regain focus," Gochee said of this year's team. "[We are] able to put that one loss behind us ... get focused and be ready to go the next time out."
The Wildcats will need to display that short-term memory when they play today. They are on a two-game slide and are coming off their worst loss of the season -- a 14-0 defeat at the hands of South Forsyth.
Gochee acknowledged that his team has to approach each opponent in the same manner, regardless of its position in the region.
"I think it's very important. I think that's what bit us a little bit [Monday]," he said. "We just didn't take 'em very serious, and we figured 'Oh, they're in last place' -- or one of the last two teams in the region -- and they came in here with their No. 1 on the mound and he dealt, and we didn't swing the bat. They took care of business."
"We're right there in the midst [of the region race]," Gochee added. "The crazy thing about our region is the teams that are at the bottom are beating teams at the top ... in the last week and a half. It's really just about the team that shows up to play is the team that's gonna jump out and the team that's gonna end up winning the ball game."
When Woodland has come out of the gates with the right mentality, the results have been promising.
"Bottom line, we gotta jump out early -- that first inning is big -- and play good defense and get a couple of timely hits late in the game," Gochee said. "I mean, that's the key for us. The games that we've done that, we've been very successful. The games where we've struggled to do that, it's been hard for us."
The Wildcats (8-7, 6-4) have had repeated starts and stops, so to speak, not yet stringing together the kind of streak they enjoyed last year. It could, however, be a good sign that they have yet to reach their ceiling.
"I'm sort of glad we haven't peaked as early," said Gochee, whose team has won three consecutive games once and two consecutive games twice. "I think last year we peaked too early, and that's what bit us in the rear end. We got a little too comfortable. That's the good part of it ... we got 10 region games to go, and we still control our own destiny. ... We just [need to] win some ball games [and] we'll be in good shape.
"[Today] we go to Johns Creek [and] they came in and thumped us pretty good at our place the first region game, so we've got something to prove [today]. We'll get some good pitching and be able to go to their place and hopefully come out ready to play."