By Bruce Campbell Staff Writer

Enid won't be familiar with its first-round opponent at the American Legion AAA state baseball tournament, which begins Thursday at Alva's Crenshaw Field.

The Enid AAA's (26-14) will play Miami at 2 p.m. Thursday in the first round. Miami beat Dewey and host Vinita in a three-team district tournament last week. Enid took two out of three from Bartlesville.

"I don't know anything about them," said Enid coach Scott Baugh. "That kind of makes it difficult to prepare for, but they don't know anything about us either."

Enid ace Chris O'Brien will pitch the opener of the double elimination tournament. John Dillingham will pitch the second game.

If Enid wins, it will play the Edmond Santa Fe-Oklahoma City Post 12 winner at 6 p.m. Friday. The losers will meet at noon Friday.

"We'll see what happens after that," said Baugh about the rest of his pitching rotation.

Santa Fe and Post 12 play at noon Thursday.

The other side of the bracket pits Byng and Pryor at 6 and host Alva and Stillwater at 8.

Alva lost to Stillwater by one run in nine innings at the Stillwater Tournament.

"That's probably a good matchup for us," said Alva coach Joe Phillips.

The host Renegades' 14-14 record best describes Alva's season so far, Phillips said. Alva beat Enid 17-1 in the first game of a doubleheader earlier this summer, but lost the second game 16-2.

"We have been very up and down," Phillips said. "We can hit the ball pretty well. There are days where we don't make any errors ... we haven't lost too many of those. There are days where we make six or seven errors ... we haven't won too many of those."

Alva has four hitters batting better than .400 -- first baseman Cory Dowers (.470), pitcher-outfielder Zac Theademan (.444), second baseman Chris Schultz (.410) and catcher-third baseman Kyle Rickey (.410).

Either Theademan or Nathan Clover, both left-handers, will pitch the first game.

Other key players are catcher-third baseman Wade Schwerdtfeger, shortstop Jordan Poland, second baseman Josh Moore, first baseman Jake Phillips and outfielders Colby Johnson and Taylor Criswell.

Clover has a losing record but has faced most of Alva's tougher opponents, Phillips said. Theademan has a winning record.

"Sometimes we have just been overmatched," Phillips said.

Phillips played down the home-field advantage.

"We'll get to sleep in our own beds and eat momma's cooking, but that's about it," Phillips said. "We've got to work on the fields. We'll be worn out before the fourth (Alva) game starts."

Alva is hosting a state American Legion tournament for the second straight year. Crenshaw Field was the site of last year's AA tournament.

Alva High School baseball coach Damon Moormon has done an outstanding job taking care of the field, Phillips said.

"That's something we're proud of," said Phillips, also the baseball coach for Northwestern Oklahoma State. "The Legion people and people like Todd Miller (KALV sports director) have worked really hard to get things done in the right direction."

Jerod Smith, a former Rangers player, assists Phillips.

Phillips said his team is probably the weakest of the eight in the field. He said Byng should be the favorite.

"I've seen five of them play (Enid, Byng, Stillwater, Santa Fe and Alva) and (Byng is) the best I've seen," Phillips said. "A lot of those kids play baseball all year round."

Baugh said he thinks Santa Fe, the No. 1 seed, is the favorite.

"We feel if we go out and play like we're capable of, we can do pretty well," Baugh said. "The kids are excited about the opportunity to play."

Cowley County Community College coach Dave Burroughs will speak at a banquet for the eight teams at 7 tonight at Woods County Fairgrounds.

Tickets are $12.50 for the public and can be purchased at the door.

Adult tickets will be $5 for the tournament.

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