ENID, Okla. — While neither the Enid Majors or the Enid Plainsmen baseball teams came away with a pool championship from this past week's Connie Mack regional qualifier, it is fair to say the tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark was still a success for both squads.
The Majors (7-2) came within one run of winning Pool A and advancing to the championship game Sunday night but fell 5-4 to OK Drillers in the bottom of the seventh inning, losing on a walk-off single by the Drillers' Connor Owens. The Majors held a 4-2 lead going into the sixth inning, but weren't able to hold of the Drillers.
"Overall, I thought we played as well as I thought we could have played," said Enid Majors head coach Kris Webb on Monday. "The only difference is we had a bad one or one-and-a-half innings."
Both the Majors and Drillers entered what turned out to be the deciding Pool A championship game with unblemished 3-0 marks. Webb thought the game against the Drillers turned on a few key moments.
"We had a 4-2 lead in the sixth and a couple of bad things happened," Webb said. "We walked the lead-off hitter to start the sixth inning and earlier we had bases loaded a couple of times and weren't able to score and we had a runner picked off base. That kind of stuff happened that we didn't expect."
The loss to the Drillers was the only disappointment for the Majors, other than not being able to claim the regional qualifier title. However, by virtue of the Majors hosting the Connie Mack regional tournament at David Allen July 15-19, the Majors were already guaranteed a spot in the regional as automatic qualifiers.
"I wish in a way we were playing for something," Webb said. "At times we played like we knew we were still in it (the Connie Mack regional) and we were playing for pride roughly."
Entering their game against the Drillers, the Majors had won their first three games in dominating fashion, defeating MVP Heath 6-0, Bartlesville 7-3 and Shockers Black 8-1.
During their tournament run, the Majors had timely hitting from Chase McCracken, Conner Gore, Titan Stephens and Tate Taylor.
The Drillers, however, were not able to parlay their Pool A championship into a championship win as they were taken down hard by MVP Seng 12-1 in a run-rule decision. MVP Seng, coached by former Majors and Plainsmen standout Tyson Seng, finished the tournament a perfect 5-0, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 41-5.
But Webb said he felt confident going up against MVP Seng had the Majors defeated the Drillers.
"I felt like we had enough pieces that we could have competed," Webb said. "They're good, but we certainly weren't afraid of them."
Plainsmen rebounded from opening loss
The Enid Plainsmen (7-3), the only high school team in the tournament, more than held their own. The Plansmen's only loss came in the tournament's opening game on Wednesday, falling to eventual champion MVP Seng 8-0.
"I thought they played very well," said Plainsmen head coach Brad Gore on Monday, noting their only loss came against a team, MVP Seng, that completely dominated throughout the tournament. "Every day we played a little bit better. We are the only high school team playing against teams that can pick up players from anywhere."
After their opening game setback, the Plainsmen defeated the OK Mudcats 5-4, Cherry Creek, Colo., 6-4 and wrapped things up with a decisive 8-1 win over Shockers Red on Sunday to claim second place in Pool B behind MVP Seng.
Gore said the team was able to win by playing good fundamental baseball and felt the advantage the Plainsmen had over some of the traveling teams was familiarity with each other.
"It's nice to have our guys together all the time," Gore said. "Executing the little things like bunts showed. The only time we didn't play well was when we played bad defense. I was really happy with the younger guys and our older guys.
Gore said the team's arms impressed him as well, including mound performances by starters James Humphrey, Maddux Mayberry and Blake Priest and Tyler Holland coming out of the bullpen.
"I also thought Kade Goeke played good defense and Garrett Brooks did a great job for us behind the plate," Gore said. "It's all a process and we have to keep churning."
There is plenty more baseball on tap this week at David Allen Memorial Ballpark for both the Plainsmen and the Majors.
The Plainsmen host Kingfisher Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then both teams welcome the OK Drillers back to David Allen on Friday with the Plainsmen playing the Drillers at 5 p.m. and the Majors, no doubt looking for a little revenge for their Sunday loss, taking on the Drillers at 7:30 p.m.
Webb said he is anticipating the rematch against the Drillers.
"I'm looking forward to that," he said. "I don't like to lose and I would like to make up for that."
The Plainsmen have added a Saturday doubleheader, hosting Nowata at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The weekend games then wrap up with an intriguing game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with the Majors playing the Enid Legends (or as Webb called them, the "Enid Dudes"), a team comprised of past Plainsmen and Majors players.