The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

June 18, 2014

Majors not worried about setup for Connie Mack qualifier

ENID, Okla. — Since the Enid Majors are automatic qualifiers for the Connie Mack regional tournament, the competition to qualify for it is pretty much a series of exhibition games.

Wait, that came out wrong.

“It’s not an exhibition,” said Majors head coach Chris Jensen. “It’s all about getting better and playing good teams, which’ll better you in the future, so we’re looking forward to it. Every game means something to us.”

The Majors are playing with figurative house money from a standpoint of qualification, having already been granted it as the hosts for the July 22-27 Connie Mack regional tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark, but Jensen and others still see something to be gained from the weekend tournament. Naturally absent from the list were four losses in pool play.

“I want to run-rule everybody that we play, regardless if we already made it,” said pitcher and Wichita State University commit Bradley Kinsey. “I wanna beat everybody as bad as we can.”

Enid started that on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over the OKC Sandlot 17’s to open pool play, pitched to a quick-paced victory by Matt Mills’ 6 1/3 shutout innings and Xavier Sundman’s second save.

It was an ideal start to what is a bit of a quizzical time of year for the now 17-7 Majors.

Four squads in the 10-team field hail from out of state, the farthest-flung among them a pair of like-named clubs in Batter’s Box 17’s Batter’s Box 18’s that traveled to Enid from Denver. The lack of familiarity between teams means some games’ scouting reports start empty, filling in throughout the early innings.

“I won’t know until I start watching the first day and start scouting everybody,” Jensen said. “When you guys see them, I’ll see them.”

Even the tournament’s name and timing can be a bit disorienting; the regional qualifying round comes with around 40 games left in the Majors’ regular season.

So it’s a weekend event better kept simple, Kinsey said

“The name is what makes it sound weird,” he said. “It’s just the name. You approach it as every other game: beat people as bad as you possibly can.”

The Majors are scheduled to continue regional play against the Texas-based Frozen Ropes at 6 p.m. today.

The Enid Minors, after an 11-0 loss to the Sandlot 18’s in their own pool play opener Wednesday, play the OKC Athletics at 3:45 p.m. today and the Batter’s Box 17’s in an 8:15 p.m. nightcap.

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