On Jan. 27, the SFSC Panther baseball and softball teams took to their respective diamonds for the opening games of the 2017 season.

Coach Rick Hitt, Willie Hernandez, and Dr. Tom Leitzel.

Coach Rick Hitt, Willie Hernandez, and Dr. Tom Leitzel.

The Lady Panther softball team, under coach Carlos Falla, went up against Palm Beach State College at 2 p.m. for their season opener. SFSC alumnus and Community Resource Deputy Zachary Lehman threw out the first pitch.

Coach Rick Hitt’s Panther baseball team faced off against Eastern Florida State College at 3 p.m.  Highlands County’s newly elected sheriff, Paul Blackman, threw out the first pitch.

On hand to add nostalgia to opening day was former Major League player Willie Hernández. Now a resident of Sebring, Hernandez rose to prominence as a former relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and Detroit Tigers. In 1984, Hernandez was named the Cy Young Award winner, scored the MVP Award, and played with the World Series winning Tigers—all in the same season.

Highlands County sheriff Paul Blackman throws out the first pitch.

Highlands County sheriff Paul Blackman throws out the first pitch.