All of the participants may have been wearing softball uniforms, but there was no doubt that there was a dress rehearsal going on Saturday at Goose Gossage Sports Complex.
There were 16 schools represented at the preseason softball tournament that started early in the morning and went all day, and every one of them was looking to work out the final kinks before the season starts this week.
"A lot of girls play club ball, so they're used to doing this every weekend," Woodland Park coach Dale Huntington said. "It gives us an idea of what positions we're going to be looking at as far as girls stepping up and filling roles. This is a great tool for us to see some of the younger girls in game action and see where some of our players are going to fit this season."
Some schools brought both varsity and junior varsity teams to the all-day event. Each varsity team played three games of one hour and 15 minutes.
Vista Ridge sophomore catcher Aryanna Elwyn says that it was exciting to be able to get on the field and play some live game action against someone other than teammates.
"This is a good experience, especially for girls who haven't played all summer, and it's fun to play against some girls outside of your conference," she said. "It's important for all of us to get some dirt time out here and it shows what we need to work on in practice."
Elwyn's battery mate, junior pitcher Kellie Mrofcza - who is considered one of the area's best returning players - said it was a mixture of wanting to win, but also preparation.
"We're still trying to win these games because that's our goal all the time, but we're looking to see who can play which positions too," she said. "I've been pitching four or five days a week to get ready for the season, and I'm very excited to get the season started on Monday."
Palmer, one of the favorites to contend for the 5A Metro title this season, has a core of veteran players returning, including eight seniors.
Palmer's coach of 22 years, Steve DeFelice, says the key to Saturday was repetition, and that there is no substitute for game experience.
"I asked them to schedule us against teams we don't normally play, and I think this event is really good for us," he said. "We lost three players, and one was an all-state level player, so we're putting different kids in different positions today to see how it works. The girls and I both wish they could do this every weekend, especially in the fall."
DeFelice's senior catcher/utility player, Samantha Archuleta, used the day to get in synch with her teammates on defense.
"It's a good time for the girls to get used to me throwing down to them when I'm catching, and it also helps me know how they catch and put on tags," she said.
Teams in attendance