PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The College World Series runners-up Florida State softball team will be in Panama City Saturday as they visit Gulf Coast State College for a fall exhibition match.
The game was originally supposed to take place in the fall of 2018 but was canceled following Hurricane Michael.
Three years later, and after the completion of a new softball complex at Joe Tom Kind Field, the ACC powerhouse and JUCO college are set to finally play.
“I expect it to be a really good atmosphere and I hope everybody just appreciates it,” Gulf Coast head softball coach Scot Thomas said. “Especially for the younger players to be able to have some younger girls that can come look up to these girls that are playing at this level and they can get some autographs from their favorite Lady Commodore or Lady Seminole.”
The Commodores have faced a wide variety of competition this fall, but third-year outfielder and catcher Ellie Fried said FSU isn’t their first game against a power five school.
“We have been playing lots of travel teams and JUCOs and stuff, but we played Auburn, it was a tough matchup but it’s definitely something we learned from,” Fried said. “Playing one of the top teams in the nation I think will be definitely learning and it’s going to be a game for us to experience that high level that we don’t get to always see, and going into the Spring I think it’s going to teach us a lot and we’re going to learn from it a lot more.”
Many of the Gulf Coast players went to a Panhandle or Big Bend area high school, including third-year shortstop Emily Greek, who said they are very familiar with the Noles reputation.
“That’s always been a school I’ve envisioned myself playing at, but actually playing against them is going to be like a different level,” Greek said. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge but I think we’re ready for it.”
The Commodores are well aware they’ll be home underdogs, but they’re excited for the opportunity to improve for the spring season.
“We have nothing to lose so we can just kind of go and play our best and if we make errors we make errors, if we kill it we kill it, and I think we’ll really be leaving everything on the field for our fall season,” Fried said.
The first pitch for the Commodores and noles game at joe tom king field is set for noon on Saturday, entry will be five dollars.