By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
It is not uncommon for participants in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic As-sociation Division II World Series to come away impressed with Enid. You can count Heartland Community College (Ill.) athletic director and head baseball coach Nate Metzger among them.
“I couldn’t imagine there being a better place to play it,” said Metzger, who brings his third-ranked Hawks (48-8) to Enid’s David Allen Memorial Ballpark for their third-straight ap-pearance in the World Series starting this weekend.
“The term ‘Southern hospitality’ doesn’t do Enid justice, it goes even further,” Metzger said. “You can’t walk into a restaurant without being treated like a big-leaguer.”
Metzger, while impressed with the facilities, calling David Allen Memorial Ballpark “quaint and unique,” was most effusive when talking about the people who make it all happen, and go out of their way to make the teams feel comfortable.
“I get more communication from our hosts — Tiffany Harvey and Brian and Sarah Burdick— than I get from my own mother,” he said. “They are always checking on us and seeing if we need anything. I even got an email from Sarah Burdick asking me who was our top hitter because her son Hudson wanted to know who his favorite player should be. How can you top that?”
The Hawks’ skipper added “Enid is just a big enough town that you don’t feel like a stranger. Tournament director Bill Mayberry really gets it and goes to every length to get all the bases covered.
“At the end of the day, it’s about who more than what — that’s how I would describe Enid — it’s the people that make it what it is. They treat you like family.”
But the “what” has its perks too.
“Last year (during the World Series), I was driving a Denali all week,” Metzger said. “I’m driving a better courtesy car than I drive at home and the guys have X-boxes in their hotel room.
“Everything is just done right.”