Panther Field (map it)
600 W College Dr
Avon Park, FL 33825
Year Opened: 1970
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
South Florida State College’s softball team has seen success in the past, and their fans’ passion pulsates through their small home area of Sebring/Avon Park, Florida. The Panthers compete in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
While fans are sure to pack in the seats for games, the sun bearing down can be a bit of a drag, but it is one that doesn’t seem to deter the fans in any way from catching their hometown Panthers battle for the win. This cozy college in Central Florida might be out of the way, but it is no less full of collegiate fervor.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There isn't a big mix of food items at the Panther Softball Field concession stand, which is the same one the baseball team uses (their stadiums are right next to each other). The usuals of cheeseburgers ($3), hamburgers ($2.50), and hot dogs ($2) are the main food items available. Drinks include Powerade ($2), water ($1), hot chocolate ($0.50), and sodas ($1.50). Additional snacks range from chips to candy, peanuts, popcorn, and sunflower seeds ($0.25-$1.50).
The stadium is situated right on the outer edge of campus between the main buildings and the road. The field faces east, so unless the game is in the morning, fans will never be looking into the sun. The biggest downside to SFSC softball games is the lack of shade. While the baseball stadium next door has plenty of large trees covering the seating, softball games do not enjoy the same luxury. Be sure to bring a hat to help protect you from the sun.
Instead, the pines behind the main grandstand offer the only shade the fans receive in the late afternoon as the sun is setting. Thanks to Central Florida's unrelenting heat as the days get longer, this means you could be roasting and toasting for a while. Bring the sunblock.
Sebring and Avon Park are not exactly thriving metropoles. These small towns are quintessential Central Florida heritage, thriving on agriculture and local businesses rather than tourism. The largest crowds the area sees are during race weekends at Sebring International Raceway. Therefore, lodging immediately around the college isn't plentiful, but there are various hotels and motels along US-27 to pick from. In addition, several miles south of the campus lies Sebring's mall area that is home to several chain restaurants. Besides that, there aren't many things to see in the area besides citrus fields.
The fans usually pack the stadium's small seating areas. Most are locals who take pride in their local college team. All of them are sport knowledgable and can easily fill you in on the talent on the field. The crowd sizes are nonetheless small, but are not quiet. While softball itself is usually full of cheering, it seems to be even more intense thanks to the intimate setting at SFSC's field. With kids running around and playing behind the grandstands and with fans chatting with each other to catch up, it feels like softball games here have become somewhat of a gathering place for locals.
Getting to South Florida State College isn't hard, but it is out of the way. From Orlando to the north or points to the south, it is a straight shot on US-27 until you reach the campus. Once you are there, free parking is plentiful and mere steps from the grandstands.
Tickets to Panther softball games are free, making this a perfect stop for someone wanting to catch some college softball on the cheap. In addition to free parking, the ultra low price of concessions helps make this one of the more affordable sports options in central Florida for fans of any kind, aside from the school's baseball games as well.
The field is situated right next to the school's baseball field, making jumping between games on doubleheader days a breeze.
Additionally, fans can purchase a range of souvenirs from the concession stand that include magnets ($5), hats ($10-$15), car flags ($6), visors ($10), and t-shirts ($10).
Though not a top tier college program, South Florida State College is nonetheless full of school pride among both its students and the local community. The big draw here is the passion in the crowd. You feel like everyone is invested in the game. Sure, the stadium could use a coat of paint here and there or a broom to sweep off the clay from the sidewalks, but there is little doubt when watching a Panther softball game that this stadium matters to the locals, and they make sure everyone driving by knows it too with their cheers.
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