Panama City, FL---It's a big weekend ahead for the Gulf Coast softball team. The Lady Commodores,the champs of the Panhandle Conference at 12-4 in league play, 43-13 overall, will head to Pensacola Thursday and begin play in the state tournament Friday.
Coach Painter's team currently working through a bit of a layoff, some two weeks in between their last game and Friday's tourney opener.
Painter's led 17 previous teams to state though, so she knows how to handle the long break.
"You have to do something every day. It's not necessarily the amount of hours per day but it's just what you get out of it. And I think it's just all fundamentals. I think we need to hit every day, we need to throw live every day to keep us fresh, keep us polished."
Safe to say coach Painter's confident about her team's chances at state, confident about landing a 4th title. The main reason for that, the pitching combo of Olivia McLemore who's 26-10 and 9-3 Paige Caraway, both averaging a strikeout per inning this season.
"We're a little bit more sound, a little deeper than we've ever been. And I definitely attribute that, on the mound. I feel as confident as I can with two good pitchers. And I don't think we've had that consistency with two going into the state tournament. Excited about that and see how they work off each other."
Gulf Coast opens against Santa Fe Friday at noon. Chipola also state bound opens against Manatee, Northwest Florida opens against Polk, all noon time games.