The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 6, 2013

Large crowds at David Allen Memorial Ballpark treated to a great NJCAA II baseball tourney

ENID, Okla. — Another National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series, another great event.

That pretty much sums up what happened at David Allen Memorial Ballpark last week.

There was some great baseball played all week, capped by Murray State’s surprising 4-3 win over top-ranked LSU-Eunice to claim the title.

It was a raucous capacity crowd that enjoyed the title game.

Many were fans of the two teams competing, but many also were Enid residents who turned out to enjoy the game.

That’s what separates Enid from other cities that have hosted the event.

For instance, consider this: in 2002 Parkland College won the championship in Millington, Tenn.

There were 300-400 people at the final game, according to Rod Lovett, who is Parkland’s athletic director and NJCAA Division II baseball chairman.

In 2009 — the first year Enid hosted the tournament — Parkland won the title before a crowd of 2,500 people.

That makes a difference. That community support is worth its weight in gold.

And, the support goes way beyond what you can see at the ballpark.

Teams that come here get a host family.

They are paired with youth baseball teams, too, which is a big deal.

These athletes aren’t used to playing in front of a lot of people and getting a lot of attention.

Imagine how they feel when they are swarmed by little kids asking for their autographs. That makes an impression.

Imagine, too, how they feel when they see signs at restaurants and hotels welcoming them to town.

That makes an impression.

It’s called Oklahoma hospitality, and it was on display in abundance for the World Series.

And, that hospitality is one reason Enid has hosted the event since 2009 and stands a good chance of winning another three-year contract.

Congratulations to all involved for a great event.

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