Chipola starts conference play undefeated

Back to back defending national champion Chipola is starting to string some wins together on the road to three straight.

The Indians were voted as preseason number one, but struggled out of the gate, going 12-9 in non-conference play and falling out of the top 20 entirely.

That was an adjustment period.

Since then, the Indians have started Panhandle Conference play undefeated through eight games, rising to first in the standings and 15th in the nation.

With injuries and team chemistry construction mostly behind them, coach Jeff Johnson hopes the best may still be to come.

"We played a tough non-conference schedule and truth and honest, we had some injuries and other issues," Johnson said. "We only had one guy, Julio Carrion, who played a bunch last year returning for us. We only had five guys returning, a couple guys were down with injuries. It has taken us a while and I think we started playing better once conference started. I think it's one of the only times ever in my career we've been 8-0 to start the season."

They aren't making issues for the slow start, nor do they need to.

That said...Hurricane Michael affected all teams in this region and the Indians are no exception.

"We didn't really realize in the fall missing those four or five weeks with the hurricane, how much that affected us as well early in the spring," Johnson added. "Being in the right spot, knowing where to throw the ball, fundamentally offensive and defensively and pitching, things we normally get in in the fall that we didn't get it--we were making some mistake early in spring that cost us some games."

Chipola visits Coastal Alabama North on Tuesday, returning home to play No. 9 Northwest Florida on Thursday and traveling Niceville for a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.