Greenbrier baseball coach Chris Wilkins can try to simulate as many game situations as possible for his players during practice, but nothing matches the experience a player gets once the lights and the scoreboard come on.
Though school is out and the season is finished, area baseball teams still improved these past six weeks thanks to summer ball, with the Greenbrier Slugfest finishing Saturday.
"We had a good summer," Wilkins said. "Thirty games in 30 days is pretty tough."
Many local teams went anywhere they could to play in tournaments, with most games happening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The Wolfpack got to end the busy stretch at home, but the team played other tournaments in Atlanta and in Knoxville, Tenn.
In some ways, the road trips were a nice change for Wilkins and the Wolfpack because they saw foes they usually don't compete against.
Westside assistant coach Wayne Jackson said his club played at the University of Georgia baseball team's Foley Field on Friday morning before returning to the Augusta area. The Patriots closed summer ball with a flood of games, playing seven contests in the past three days.
"We got a lot of guys coming up from middle school," Jackson said. "It gives them a chance to play."
Harlem assistant coach Rusty James said summer ball provides players an opportunity to try different positions, even when it comes to kids who want to pitch.
These weeks were especially important for Greenbrier because, though it returns the pitching staff, the Wolfpack will have new starters in the outfield, at shortstop and first base. With these 30 games, many players had about 100 at-bats to work on hitting.
But Wilkins, who saw his team beat the Patriots 9-4 in the Wolfpack's final game, has seen improvement in all areas, including when it comes to what to do in certain situations.
The coach has put a strong emphasis on bunting this summer, and with these contests being more like practice games, players can use what they learned next season.
One example for Wilkins was when a kid took off immediately on a play where the player thought there were two outs when there was actually one. The coach said those are the types of instances players will remember next season.
As for Harlem, James said tournaments like the Greenbrier Slugfest can help staffs see what players they'll be using this upcoming season.
James always sees young players improve in the different facets of the game this time of the year, and the mental aspect is an area he often gives extra attention.
With football season approaching, James said some players will be spending most of their athletic time working out and practicing for football. But for kids who can focus on baseball, now's not the time to let up.
"Repetition is everything," James said.