The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 2, 2013

Plainsmen hopeful as baseball playoffs start

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — As Enid’s baseball season tailed off, head coach Bill Mayberry continued to recite the same mantra.

Each team’s record — Enid’s descending to 9-23, with losses in each of its last nine games — resets once seeds are administered, the Plainsmen’s seventh-place 6A-4 finish setting up a regional playoff opener against rival and 6A-3 runner up Stillwater at 11 a.m. today at the Pioneers’ home field.

It’s cliché, but it just might work.

“I feel like we can’t have any other mindset,” said junior Cole Floyd, who is scheduled to pitch against Stillwater. “We had kind of a rough season. I feel like the only thing we can do is look forward.”

Enid is 1-4 against the field’s three other teams — top seed No. 9 Stillwater, second-seeded No. 8 Mustang and unranked third seed Tulsa Kelley, but the win is against the Pioneers in the teams’ only game March 28 at the Gladys Winters Tournament in Enid, when the Plainsmen scored seven runs in the first inning and won, 11-6.

That 1-0 mark, of course, is a mark Mayberry would rather the Plainsmen consider.

“It’s a mindset,” he said. “If we were going against (teams) that we played really early there where we didn’t play good at all — the Jenks’s, the Unions, the Broken Arrows, the big, mega-schools over in Tulsa — we would have a different degree of confidence than we do now.”

“We know we can go out there and beat them,” Floyd said. “We know they’re not unbeatable.”

Stillwater looks more beatable now than at any other point of the season. The Pioneers (16-12) finished the regular season 4-5, though one of those losses came to top-ranked and undefeated Owasso, and the other came in the team’s final game, a 15-0 loss to Bartlesville that effectively was meaningless to the Pioneers’ 6A-3 finish.

Meanwhile, the Plainsmen’s fielding woes, their worst bugaboo in a season with plenty others, has returned. The Plainsmen have averaged nearly three errors per game during their nine-game losing streak and have officially misplayed 84 balls this season after booting 90 in 2012. The most recent pair of errors contributed to a four-run seventh inning Monday against host Edmond Memorial, a game the Plainsmen led 7-4 after 61⁄2 innings but lost 8-7.

“It was hard-felt,” Mayberry said. “It was quiet on our bus. The guys took that very seriously.”

Mayberry hasn’t determined his rotation after Floyd for the regional tournament, but said Jerry Kearney likely would pitch in the second game, followed by Zeke Sarver in a potential third game.

The winner of Enid and Stillwater’s game will play the winner of the 1 p.m. Bishop Kelly-Mustang game at 3 p.m., with the losers matching up at 5 p.m.