The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

May 16, 2013

Majors vets rejoining for alumni game

ENID, Okla. — The Enid Majors’ walk-off win in the 2005 American Legion World Series had a hard-to-forget finish — not many titles are won via balk.

Still, some are coming home to remember it, in a way.

On Saturday, in a rivalry both friendly and fierce, Majors from eras before, after and during that season — both with multiple eventual college players and Major League draftees — are in line to stake claim for the credit.

Or to reconnect with old friends.

Or to re-live an old memory.

Not every player gracing David Allen Memorial Ballpark actually played with the 2005 title winner, which will act as the pivot point for the teams (one team of players from 1999-2004 and the other from 2005-10), but each of the participating former Majors have their own reason.

“Some of these guys are just going to go out there and wing it,” said Chris Jensen, who will coach the younger of the teams in Saturday’s exhibition. “We’re looking at a lot of guys that were drafted and played Division I and stuff. A lot of competitors and competition. It’s gonna be pretty fierce … A lot of these guys, obviously they keep in touch, but we’ve got guys coming in from all around the region and really the country that are making a point to come back and visit.”

Jensen didn’t play for the Majors — he wishes a similar alumni game would sprout in Norman, where he won a state title in his day — but the Enid High School assistant baseball coach helped organize the alumni game with former Major Joe Capra, now a counselor at EHS, via Facebook.

“It kind of exploded,” said Capra, who started the Facebook alumni group with 12 members less than two months ago. “Eventually it got big enough that we could field a couple teams … A lot of the guys that I used to play with were moving back to Enid, and it got a lot bigger than I even expected.”

The digital representation ballooned to 35 members — at least 25 of them already are confirmed to play Saturday.

Among the players set to play in the alumni game, Jensen said, are Kendall Bergdall, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2002, Jared Swart, a 2003 draftee to the Minnesota Twins, Matt Peck, a 2006 Milwaukee Brewers draftee, and Tyson Seng, who was drafted in 2011 by the New York Mets.

“All the guys that I played with, the older guys, we’re going to end up playing the studs, and the guys that are still playing in college or in the league,” said Capra, joking that the elder team may not be favored in the exhibition.

Of course, the extra time off a field won’t help.

“Tell me about it,” said Carpa, who played center field from 2002-04.

The nine-inning game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and concessions will be available.

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