The memories were flowing for ex-Enid star Tyson Seng as he coached his MVP Seng team to an 11-0 rout over the Oklahoma Expos Wednesday at the state Connie Mack baseball tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Seng was coaching for the first time at a ballpark where he played on an American Legion World Series champion (2005) and two state Legion championship teams.
"It feels great,'' he said. "There are a lot of good memories in this ballpark. I still get goose bumps every time I come in.''
He eyed the 2005 American Legion championship sign sitting above the scoreboard.
"That's a good addition,'' Seng said. "You look up there and see a lot of good things. It was emotional for me today ... no doubt about it. I was thinking about it on the way up here ... just everybody involved with this ball from Paul to Joan Allen, Bill Mayberry (his Legion coach) and Chris Jensen (then Legion assistant). It's good to see everybody. There's a lot of good memories.''
His emotions stir even more when he sees the No. 7 in black on the left field foul pole in memory of the late Austin Box, who was not only his teammate at Enid High, but his roommate at the University of Oklahoma.
"Every time we come to this ballpark, I think about him,'' Seng said. "I think about the memories that we had. He's definitely missed ... no doubt about that.''
He remembers how close he and his Legion teammates were.
"I talk with those guys all of the time,'' Seng said. "We were a close group and we expected a lot out of each other. Every time we came to the park, everybody expected each other to do well. When you have teammates like that, they keep you accountable. You don't want to mess up and you don't want to let anybody down. That's a good thing to have.
"We just loved to win. We hated to lose. Anytime we lost, we took it hard. I think that showed on the field.''
Seng, who went on to play for OU and had a stint in the New York Mets organization, still misses playing.
"There's no doubt that I miss it, but I understand, that's over,'' Seng said. "I'm enjoying what I'm doing now.''
Seng doesn't live in the past. He never told his team that he played on that 2005 World Series championship team.
"No, no ... these guys don't care about that,'' Seng said. "These guys are having their own careers. They are worried about what they are doing today. It's all about the kids and what they are trying to do.''
The MVP Seng roster — mostly 2020 seniors — has six Division I commitments — first baseman-pitcher Dax Fulton (Vanderbilt), infielder-pitcher-outfielder Blake Robertson (Oklahoma State), catcher Cooper Harris (Wichita State), ss-pitcher Cade Horton (OU) and pitcher Trevor Martin (OSU).
The 11-0 win raised his team's record to 16-0-3. Their schedule has been limited because of a number of rainouts.
"This team is more talented than we were,'' Seng said. "There are more elite players on it, but it's the same type of deal. They show up expecting to win so there are some similarities there.''
His players come across the state from Owasso's Conley Rae, who allowed only two hits and struck out six over four innings to Asher's Martin to two players from Iowa Park, Texas.
"Communication is the biggest thing for us,'' Seng said. "We try to give each one of them a plan for every day. They enjoy knowing what their role is each day. You try to go out and create relationships with these guys. They know they can trust us and they know that we're there for them.''
Seng is in his first year as a head coach of a Connie Mack traveling team. He spent the past five years coaching in a "travel showcase'' team for younger players.
During the school season, Seng is involved giving private lessons for both individuals and youth. He has worked with some of his current players before. Assistant Brian Shackleford is another former Sooner and minor leaguer, giving both more credibility.
"We both played at a high level so they know that we understand the game,'' Seng said. "Just being around us, they know they can trust us and we have their best interests. When the players know that, it feeds off the other players. They want to play for that. We just try to give them our experience from what we went through and let them play.''
Seng's team will face the Enid Plainsmen at 6 p.m. Thursday. Brad Gore's team beat Sandlot Ballard for the second time, 8-3 on Wednesday. The winner will be in the driver's seat to qualify for Saturday's championship round.
"It's going to be fun,'' Seng said. "Brad Gore does a great job with his group. They knocked off Sandlot Ballard so they will give us everything we want.''
Seng said his team doesn't feel the pressure of being unbeaten. They can go into state relaxed knowing they have already qualified for the upcoming national regional at David Allen.
"There's not a lot of pressure on us this week,'' Seng said. "We're going to play free and have fun. As long as you play hard and do things the right way, good things will happen."
Seng hasn't been thinking what it would be like to play and coach on a national championship team.
"We're not looking ahead,'' he said.