Marianna thanks Chipola baseball team with fried fish

MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - There's no better "thank you" than free food—especially in college!

Marianna baseball head coach Bobby Hughes thanked the Chipola baseball team with a fish fry after practice Wednesday afternoon.

He wanted to host this cookout for Chipola head coach Jeff Johnson and his state tourney-bound Indians as a way of thanking the Indians for allowing the Bulldogs to use the college's facilities to host home games for most of this season.

Marianna's field and facilities were badly damaged in Hurricane Michael. Although they were refurbished just in time for Senior Day at the final two weeks of home games, all prior games were hosting down the street at Chipola.

What better way to show gratitude than 30 pounds of fried catfish, trigger, and grouper with a side of hush puppies, crinkle fries, and banana pudding?

"I know every college kid loves a good country meal and we just felt like this would be the best thing for them and us," Hughes said. "Coach Johnson said that would be a great thing to do, so that's what we decided to do. We got my dad out here and a lot of the boosters."

Coach Hughes' father, bobby Sr., used to run the Hughes Seafood Restaurant up there for years, so he knows what he's doing.

Jeff Johnson has known the Hughes family for decades.

"Little Bobby, I've known him forever," Johnson said with a smile. "I coached him in high school, he's like one of my little sons. So it was easy in that aspect. But for our community as well, it's something we want to do. We've got a nice facility and we were fortunate that our facility was damaged any more than it was."

For both, it's all a matter of simply returning the favor.

"When we re-did our facilities here in 2000-2001, we played our season at Marianna High School," Johnson recalled. "When you've got the surrounding communities and schools in special situations that come up, where we have to help one another."

The Bulldogs host their final regular season home games Thursday at 4 against Liberty (senior day) and Friday at 4 against Paxton, with the district tournament schedule at home the following week.

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