The Olympics may have nothing on the softball players at Woodland and Cass high schools this coming season.
Coaches for both teams have lost a majority of their starters due to graduation and will be retooling their squads by letting players prove their way out onto the diamond.
"We get better through competition," head Woodland softball coach Colman Roberts said. "This year we will have a lot of competition."
With that goal in mind, Woodland on Thursday hosted several teams across the area, including Bartow's Cass High, in a daylong play day on the diamond.
Woodland started its play against Woodstock in the morning while Cass took on South Paulding in the afternoon. Then the Bartow schools had an extra treat by playing one another.
The games gave the coaches of those teams a chance to brighten up this phase of their softball preparation, looking literally for diamonds in the rough.
Teams like Cass are practicing twice nightly plus getting conditioning four mornings in the weight rooms, head coach Greg Hight said. He said that work on the diamond will be stepped up later in the summer.
Woodland has its athletes working out in exercise program several days each week plus some work on the diamond as well.
Hight said Thursday's games fulfill several purposes. "It works good for us. We can get out here and see what we've got and what we need to work on. There's some things defensively I know we need to work on. It's good for all these teams."
Roberts said a lot of Wildcats saw action Thursday, some already experienced in Region 7-AAAA play.
Among the players gaining experience against Cass and Woodstock were Casey Bucy on the mound, Lacey Fritz behind the plate, Cheyanne Burt at first, Sydney Flowers at second, Taylor Braselton at shortstop and Darby Cagle at third.
Roberts said a lot of Wildcats are trying to win starting positions through competition, including in the outfield, Veronica Munsey, Bailey Roberts, Emma Hicks, Jessie Michaels and Ashley Jordan, and the infield, Brandy Godfrey, Kelsey Clifton and Bridgett Hampton.
Brooke Rogers, a freshman, also is a Lady Wildcat pitcher.
Roberts said coaches will be reviewing their performances on Thursday and throughout the season before finalizing the lineups.
"There's really not anything set, honestly," he said. "We're going to have a lot of competition this summer."
Hight said Cass also will be filling its positions through competition although some players clearly have a history with their coaches.
"We had 19 players today," he said. "We have about 25 players out for the team. We lost six starters."
He said eight players returning have varsity experience. "We are very young and we have one senior on our team this year."
Hight said he saw some good play on the diamond Thursday from some Lady Colonels. "Courtney [Bailey] is going to be one of the better pitchers in our region, there's no doubt in my mind. And she's just a sophomore at that. She will work hard and she'll do the things she's asked to do."
Bailey also will be playing shortstop.
He said Hope Fetzer, the team's senior, will play in the outfield.
Juniors Allison Story and Bethany Ballard will be stepping up for the Lady Colonels. "They both have good bats," Hight said. "Bethany can catch some, play infield and outfield as well. Allison will be our other pitcher as well as play shortstop."
He said Kelsey Holoway is returning after missing last season and is projected as a first baseman. "I expect her to have a real big season."
Cass also is looking for big things from Ashlynn Russell, in the infield; Breanna Mahrt, at catcher and in the infield; and Camey Kirkland, who was used primarily as a baserunner last year but is projected as contributing as an outfielder this time.
He added 14 freshmen came out for the team, too.