The Jackson County softball team and new coach Kristin Croteau spent the month of June getting ready for the season, and perhaps just as importantly, getting to know one another.

The Panthers only scrimmaged twice but got in their share of workouts and team-building time in preparation for the season, which starts Aug. 5.

“My goal for the summer, like I told the girls, was us to get to know each other and for us to form that family together — to have fun and get to know each other,” said Croteau, who previously served as an assistant coach at Dacula.

The team will reconvene in a couple of weeks for its first preseason practice on July 23. The Aug. 5 opener is against Peachtree Ridge.

Jackson County held workouts twice a week for three weeks in June. Twenty-three players participated in summer workouts with nearly perfect attendance for all sessions.

“We had a lot of fun this summer,” Croteau said. “I feel the chemistry is good. The girls have been working hard. We’ve been getting a lot of work done and also coming together is a huge positive.”

Croteau said the team is already demonstrating cohesiveness from what she’s seen.

“They play well together as a team, and they pull for each other as a team, so I think that’s one of the greatest strengths is they know that not one person can do it alone,” she said.

The first-year coach said the time in June with the team was well-spent.

“I loved it because they get to know me, I get to know them,” Croteau said. “It’s very important to know each other’s personalities.”

She is giving her team most of July off to recharge before the start of preseason practice. Croteau said she believes “summer is summer.”

“The kids need to enjoy their summer because when we start back in August, we hit the road running,” she said.

Croteau added that she gives players time off in July “just so they miss it, so they’re excited for this year.”

While summer vacation is quickly passing, there’s plenty to look forward to as well as August nears, Croteau said.

“That’s the best thing about it: you start school but you get more excited because now it’s softball season,” she said. “You’re not going back to work. You’re going to play.”

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