PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Gulf Coast Softball is in full swing into their fall season, and per the usual cycle of junior colleges, their roster has quite a bit of new faces.

“Fall ball is about two things really. In September we play a lot of travel teams,” Head Coach, Scot Thomas said. “That helps us see other kids and get kids on our campus, but October we’ve got Auburn, Troy, Samford. We’ve got some four-year schools. We’ve got a couple of junior college teams and some top junior college teams and that’s really getting us to see what we’re gonna be made of heading into the spring and really learning the game to see what we’re all about.”

Of the four division one teams, the Commodores face this fall, the one circled is the Auburn Tigers, who they will face on their home field.

“I see nothing but opportunity,” sophomore third basemen, Cassidy Boltz said. “I think it’s a dream seeing those teams on tv, so playing them. Being in a five-foot difference from them. I see a great chance for opportunity and I appreciate that coach has given us that chance to shine.”

The idea behind competing against high-level programs isn’t for notoriety, but to get the ‘Dores ready for conference play in the spring.

“Our goal every year is to try to win the Panhandle, but that’s a pretty tough order and so you don’t just say that lightly,” Thomas said. “We know what we’re up against. We also know the competition. We always say it’s kind of like the SEC of junior college ball, so right now the biggest thing.”

The team has some big shoes to fill in the pitching game, as all three of their core starters have moved on to larger programs, including Graceann Spears who was First Team All-State.

The Commodores have seven players returning from the season prior and 11 incoming freshmen.