MARIANNA, FL (WJHG/WECP) It is a very big weekend ahead at Chipola this week.
Coach Jeff Johnson and his team set to host the annual Alumni Weekend, that includes the home opener Friday, a home opener that just happens to be against Walters State out of Tennessee, the team Chipola beat in last year's National Championship game out in Grand Junction, Colorado.
"You know we played this past weekend down in Clearwater, got rained out in the third one." Coach Johnson told us Wednesday. "But you know we're ready to get home for our home opener and excited about that. You know we're excited about getting back home and playing in front of our crowd. And bringing in a great team like Walters State and the experience they've got. You know their coach Dave Shelton is a good friend of mine and they come down every year and play. You know probably been doing it for the last six to eight years and we've always said we wanted to play in the final game of the World Series and we weren't gonna be unhappy for either one of us, whoever won the thing. You know I know he was very disappointed not to win it, we were very happy to win it!"
The Indians winning that game 10-7, it was a 6th straight win on the way to that national title, the third for coach Johnson and Chipola.
"It's great to have them coming back in, another rematch. We played them three times at the World Series last year and played the final game. So excited to get them here, it will be great competition for our kids to play against some really good arms, hit against some really good arms. And our pitchers to face some really good hitters."
The Indians will play Walters at 1 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. Then it will be time for the midday alumni events, including the home run derby!
The alumni weekend, as coach Johnson tells us, for more than just the guys he coached.
"Chipola has a longstanding tradition. We're gonna honor coach Ellis Dungan who coached here for years and years. He's probably the second longest tenured coach that's ever been at Chipola. Buck played for him, as well as a lot of the other guys that are coming back. But we got a guy named Mike Crawford, who played earlier than that, who that group got started coming back about three or four years ago. We've got about 15 to 20 of those guys coming back now. And it's getting better and better, we're getting 6 to 8 in a lot of different age groups now."
Here is the complete schedule of events at Chipola starting Friday:
Friday, Feb. 1:
1PM- Chipola vs. Walters State
4PM- Walters State vs. Florida SouthWestern
6PM- All-Star Dinner & Auction (National Guard Armory | 3645 Hwy. 90, Marianna, FL 32446)
-Honoring 2018 National Championship Team
-Honoring Coach Ellis Dungan
-Guest Speaker: Buck Showalter
Saturday, Feb. 2:
10AM- Chipola vs. Walters State
-2018 National Championship Ring Ceremony
-Alumni Home Run Derby
-Alumni Softball Game
2PM- Walters State vs. Florida SouthWestern
5:30PM- Chipola Homecoming Basketball Games (Milton H. Johnson Center)
Sunday, Feb. 3:
10AM- Chipola vs. Florida SouthWestern (DH)