Gulf Coast and Chipola set for softball showdown Tuesday

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:39 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The softball teams of Chipola and Gulf Coast are headed for a do-or-die showdown game Tuesday night. They will face each other as part off the play-in tournament between the second, third and fourth place teams in the Panhandle Conference standings, with the lone survivor, getting the league’s second state berth. Northwest Florida, as the Conference champ, has the first berth nailed down. Pensacola in second place, Gulf Coast third and Chipola fourth. How the play-in tourney works is Pensacola gets a bye while Gulf Coast hosts Chipola tomorrow night in a one game playoff. Commodores, coming off a hard fought 3-2 win over Tally in their final regular season game Saturday, gets to host because of the higher league finish. The winner plays at Pensacola Thursday. An odd format, as opposed to just sending the first and second place teams to State!

”It is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.” Gulf Coast head coach Scot Thomas told me Monday. “And you know it worked for us this year, but next year, this is the last year we’re using it anyways. So it doesn’t really matter. It obviously helped us, we got a chance to play, to live an extra day, play an extra game. And hopefully that will take us into Thursday against Pensacola. But first things first we’ve got to take care of Chipola Tuesday night.”

Chipola and Gulf Coast played five times so far, Indians won three of five but Gulf Coast wound up with the better conference record, so they’re in third, Chipola fourth, hence Gulf Coast hosts Tuesday. Whoever survives has to go beat Pensacola twice Thursday. Back to the season series, Thomas believes his team and Chipola are pretty evenly matched.

“They have speed, we have speed. They have power, we have power. The pitching is, I don’t know that one is more crazily advantageous over the other. So it’s a pretty even match. Both records are pretty similar. So you know it’s going to be a knockdown drag-out tomorrow night, I’m sure. That’s what I’m expecting at least.”

That game Tuesday night set for 6:30 at Joe Tom King Field.