Commodores face off against other teams for the first time since canceled spring seasons

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– The Gulf Coast State College sports teams are continuing to prepare for the upcoming seasons and now some can do so through scrimmages.

Softball and baseball teams have been able to get scrimmages this fall. Softball has had several scrimmages, however, they have been against mainly travel ball teams.

The baseball team played in its first scrimmages on Friday. The Commodores faced off against both Chipola and Northwest Florida. Gulf Coast head baseball coach Mike Kandler said although they haven’t had as much activity as they normally would in the fall, they were glad to have some last week.

“We hadn’t been out there since March 12th, most of our guys did not play summer ball, so that’s the longest break they’ve had you know from any baseball competition in their whole life, it’s the longest break I’ve ever had,” said Gulf Coast athletic director and head baseball coach Mike Kandler.

On the court, the men’s basketball team will play in a scrimmage against Faulkner University on Friday.

“See where our freshman are, and see where our five returners from last year’s championship team, see where they all fit in together,” head men’s basketball coach Phil Gaffney said.

The women’s team however does not have a scrimmage scheduled at this time, head coach Cayla Petree said they need to get healthy first.

“We started off with the COVID restrictions, you know the social distancing we couldn’t practice the normal way and then we’ve had a lot of injuries and things like that so we’ve yet to go five on five,” Petree said.

The basketball season will begin in late January as opposed to Nov. 1. With the schedule changes, panhandles teams will play each other four times each.

“It’s gonna be tough, very tough to get to the national tournament you could be 8-8 and be a great team and have a horrible record,” Gaffney said.

The NJCAA has yet to make a decision on if they will charge winter sport athletes with a year of eligibility or not.

“It might make it difficult for some of these players to move on because the four-year schools don’t need that many new players, but it might open a door up for them to stay here,” Kandler said.

With the unknown of the virus, Gulf Coast does not know at this time if they will be allowed to have fans in attendance at games next season. They anticipate they will know within the next couple of months.

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