PANAMA CITY BEACH — Softball will rule this weekend at Frank Brown Park. Not only is Gulf Coast hosting the Beach Classic with 12 junior college squads competing, for the second year a prominent high school tournament will be held in conjunction with the juco showcase.
The second annual Florida-Alabama Softball Challenge will be played Friday and Saturday and feature 21 schools from Florida and Alabama. Among them, head coach Rick Green of host Arnold pointed out, are six programs which have won state titles.
In addition, Green said, all 21 schools in the field qualified for their state’s playoffs in 2012.
Past state champions from Florida include Gulliver Prep, Pine Castle Christian, Lafayette and Niceville. Past Alabama champions in the field are represented by Mortimer-Jordan and Dothan.
Florida won last year’s challenge 13-7 in head-to-head competition among the states. Also at stake is a team championship that will be determined by overall record with tiebreakers such as head-to-head results and runs allowed and scored.
County schools in the field are Arnold and Mosley, with Liberty County and Marianna area teams competing.
Admission is $5 per day with a $10 weekend pass. Should inclement weather become a factor, Green said the tournament has been granted a waiver by the Florida High School Athletics Association to extend the event into Sunday morning.
Schedule, with field designation in parentheses:
3 p.m. — Niceville vs. Liberty County (1), Gulliver Prep vs. Chiles (2), Daphne vs. Lake Brantley (3), Fort Walton Beach vs. Madison (4), Arnold vs. Pine Castle (8).
5 p.m. — Mortimer-Jordan vs. Lake Howell (1), Escambia vs. Dothan (2), Marianna vs. Lake Brantley (3), Yulee vs. Fort Walton Beach (4), Florence vs. Lafayette (8), West Florida vs. Buckhorn (9).
7 p.m. — Niceville vs. Lake Howell (1), Gulliver Prep vs. Escambia (2), Daphne vs. Marianna (3), Madison vs. Yulee (4), Arnold vs. Lafayette (8), Mosley vs. West Florida (9).
9 p.m. — Liberty vs. Mortimer-Jordan (1), Dothan vs. Chiles (2), Florence vs. Pine Castle (8), Mosley vs. Buckhorn (9).
10 a.m. — Liberty vs. Lake Howell (1), Chiles vs. Escambia (2), Daphne vs. Fort Walton Beach (3), Madison vs. Lake Brantley (4), Arnold vs. Florence (8), Marianna vs. Lafayette (9).
Noon — Niceville vs. Mortimer-Jordan (1), Gulliver Prep vs. Dothan (2), West Florida vs. Marianna (3), Liberty vs. Buckhorn (4), Pine Castle vs. Lafayette (8), Mosley vs. Yulee (9).
2 p.m. — Niceville vs. Florence (1), Dothan vs. Yulee (2), Chiles vs. West Florida (3), Madison vs. Daphne (4), Arnold vs. Lake Brantley (8), Buckhorn vs. Fort Walton Beach (9).
4 p.m. — Mosley vs. Lake Howell (1), Gulliver Prep vs. Mortimer-Jordan (2), Pine Castle vs. Escambia (3).