The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

May 19, 2013

Aggies give D-II series a state flavor

ENID, Okla. — A tip of the hat to Murray State College for winning the Plains District tournament this weekend to assure there will be an Oklahoma team in the upcoming NJCAA Division II World Series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

The Aggies, who were 5-0 against Northern Oklahoma College Enid this season, beat MCC-Longview 14-7 in the district championship game to take a 41-21 record into the tournament.

They are a team that should be easy for Enid fans to adopt as their own.

All of the players are from Oklahoma and Texas.

A sampling includes the Silo duo of Keach Ballard and Jared Sterling.

Ballard was hitting .365 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI coming into the district tournament. Sterling was hitting .305 with three homers and 42 RBI. Sterling was 4-0 as a pitcher.

Yukon’s Colt Pickens, who was hitting .378 with four homers and 31 RBI. He had played for the Millers in the Gladys Winters Memorial Tournament.

Bethel’s Eddie Keiffer, who was hitting .330 with four homers and 23 RBI.

The Aggies will be challenged to carry the state’s colors as well as Western Oklahoma has the past two seasons.

The Pioneers won the championship in 2011 and lost to LSU-Eunice in last year’s title game.

That no doubt helps the gate.

However, Enid is a good enough baseball community where the stands should be packed no matter who is in the game. Never hurts, though, to have a “local’’ entry.

One wonders, though, why the Plains entry is playing at 4 p.m. the first round instead of the prime time 7 p.m. game.

Western is the only school to have reached the tournament in all four previous years (2009-13), Enid has hosted the tournament. It’s the first time since 2007 the Pioneers haven’t teached the tournament.

That no doubt helps the gate.

However, Enid is a good enough baseball community where the stands should be packed no matter who is in the game. Never hurts, though, to have a “local’’ entry.

One wonders, though, why the Plains entry is playing at 4 p.m. the first round instead of the prime time 7 p.m. game.

It will be strange not seeing either Western or Des Moines (Iowa) Community College not being in the field.

Des Moines, which comes to Enid every year to play the Jets in a regular season series, failed to get out of its own regional this season.

The Bears, the top seed, were upset by No. 8 seed Southwestern in the first round 2-1. DMACC came back to beat Kirkwood 9-2 and No. 2 Southeastern 10-0 before being eliminated by Iowa Central, 9-2.

Des Moines had reached the tournament three of the last four years.

Western, of course, was eliminated at the Region 2 tournament after losses to Redlands and Murray State. The Pioneers had made friends in the community by working with local EJRT teams.

LSU-Eunice, which has the loudest fans, beat Pearl River, Miss. CC 5-0 to win the South District championship Saturday.

The Bengals will be making their fourth appearance in five years in Enid, missing out only in 2011 when Jones, Miss., CC beat them out in the district.

Madison (Wis.) College, the North Central champion, will be making its fourth straight trip to Enid. Madison beat Kankakee Community College  3-1 in the North Central finals Sunday.

North Iowa Area Community College beat Dakota County Tech 4-1 Sunday to win the North Plains District.

Heartland CC, Ill.,(48-9)  beat Danville Area CC (34-20)  13-3 Sunday afternoon for the Midwest District crown. It’s Heartland’s third-straight trip to the Series.

University of Connecticut-Avery Point will be making its third appearance in the last four years. Scottsdale, Ariz., is in for the third time in five years. Lackawanna (Pa.) also returns.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.쇓

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