Just two days after its 11-game win streak was snapped Monday, the Enid Majors begin a quest Wednesday for their first Connie Mack State Tournament title since 2016.
"This is probably one of the deepest state tournaments I've ever seen in Connie Mack as far as talent goes," Majors head coach Chris Jensen said. "The quality of the teams is phenomenal."
The Majors and 11 other teams are set to compete in the 2019 Oklahoma State Tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark Wednesday through Sunday.
On Monday, after nearly a two-week break, the Majors (19-3) lost their first game in exactly one month, falling to the Woodward Travelers, 8-2, in Enid.
Jensen said the lengthy break played a part in the Majors' struggles earlier this week, but after a productive practice Tuesday, the team should again find its rhythm. Despite Monday's loss, Enid has won 16 of its last 18 games.
"We were hitting a pretty good stride going into the break," Jensen said. "Just getting back around the game a little bit as a team. I think we'll be fine."
Participating teams in this year's tournament are divided into three four-team pools.
Joining the Majors in Pool A are the Woodward Travelers, Shawnee Phillies and Shockers Black.
Featured in Pool B are Premier Titans, OKC Sandlot Painter, Shockers Red and Edmond Stars.
The Enid Plainsmen are positioned in Pool C with OKC Sandlot Ballard, OK Expos and MVP Seng, coached by Enid High alum and former Oklahoma Sooner Tyson Seng. The Plainsmen open their competition Wednesday against OKC Sandlot Ballard at 11:15 a.m. before facing MVP Seng at 6 p.m. Thursday and OK Expos Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Sandlot Ballard received a Connie Mack Regional Tournament berth after a rain-shortened qualifier tournament in Enid on June 16. The semifinals and finals of the tournament were cancelled with Ballard being the only of the four remaining teams yet to clinch a spot in the Regional.
Ballard is also the defending State Tournament champion, having beaten the Majors, 7-1, in last year's championship game.
The Majors have not claimed the Oklahoma State title since their three-peat from 2014 to 2016.
They are scheduled to play each of their three pool-play contests at 8:15 p.m. starting with Shawnee Wednesday, Shockers Black on Thursday and Woodward on Friday.
Jensen said he hasn't yet seen Shawnee play, but just through word of mouth from other coaches around the state, the Phillies are "really talented."
"It's going to be a tough battle and a grind," he said.
At the conclusion of pool play, the two teams with the best records in each advance to Saturday's bracket competition.
The seedings of the six qualifying teams will be determined by win percentage in pool play, followed by a set of tie-breaker factors. Those factors used are head-to-head results, fewest runs allowed, most runs scored and lastly run differential.
The top-two overall seeds receive a bye while the No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed face off in a single-elimination contest at noon, followed by a matchup between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds at 2:30 p.m.
The winner of Saturday's Game 1 will take on the No. 2 seed at 5 p.m., while the Game 2 winner faces the No. 1 seed at 7:30 p.m.
Both winners of the Saturday evening games move on to the championship game at noon Sunday.
"I'm optimistic," Jensen said. "I like our chances. Not sure who we're going to throw yet on the mound to start, but we have a lot of quality arms and a lot of guys with a proven track record."
As the host team of the State Tournament and the Regional Qualifier, which was held in June, the Majors receive an automatic berth to the Connie Mack South Plains Regional. That tournament is scheduled for July 17-21 in Enid.
KCRC (AM 1390) will broadcast all of the Majors' games in this week's State Tournament.