Chipola's kicking off its Baseball Alumni Weekend

MARIANNA, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - To baseball and believe it or not, the Juco season is under way, and up at Chipola that means it's time for the annual Baseball Alumni Weekend.

Each year, as a way of kicking off the season, alums come back for a set of weekend events, and it's no different this weekend.

"Tonight (Friday) we'll have our alumni banquet and celebrity auction at the Armory, at 6:30 p.m.," Jeff Johnson, Chipola baseball coach said. "Tomorrow (Saturday) we'll play Wallace of Dothan at 11 a.m. And immediately after that at 2 o'clock we'll do our home run derby and our alumni softball game. So we've got a big couple of days coming up."

Jose Bautista and Jeff Mathis among the alums that are in for the event.

Last year they honored the 2007 national championship team.

Saturday, they have another national championship team to honor, the 2017 team will get their championship rings just before the home run derby. And coach says that will be special!

"No doubt, and just a special group of young men," Johnson said. "And a group that go it. Not only were they a talented group of players, but they were a group of guys that understood the discipline, the leadership qualities that you have to have in a championship quality team."

This annual event was created to start the season on a good note.

"You know Jose Bautista is back this time, and Jeff Mathis is here," Johnson said. "I think that's probably only the two big league guys. We've got many of our minor league guys back. And we're also gonna honor our 2017 national championship team. You know this is our 11th year we've done it and you think sooner or later it may get a little old to them. But just proud that the coach, that the guys that have played here have the respect to come back and to continue to come year in and year out. And to contribute to our club and our program financially as well to be able to have a first class program."