Sandlot Ballard gets Connie Mack regional berth after rainout

OK Sandlot Ballard's Zach Goodwin moves towards the ball against Shockers Black Saturday, June 15, 2019, during the Connie Mack Regional qualifying tournament at NOC's Failing Field. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

Sandlot Ballard players might have been going through some mixed emotions Sunday.

Saturday night's storms throughout Central Oklahoma left half of the Sandlot Ballard's players without power, according to Connie Mack Regional Qualifier Tournament director Shannon Enfield.

But the rains helped Sandlot Ballard punch its ticket to next month's National Regional Tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

The final day of the regional qualifier at David Allen Memorial Ballpark was rained out Sunday with the semifinals (Batter's Box Navy vs. Sandlot Ballard and Enid Majors vs. Oklahoma Drillers AAA) and finals still left to be played.

Batter's Box Navy of Denver was declared the champion because it had the best record in qualifying pool play (4-0). The Enid Majors (3-0) was unable to compete its final pool play game with the MVP Red Saturday before the weather hit.

Because Colorado is no longer in the Southwest Regional, Batters Box Navy could not get a regional berth. Colorado teams can play in regional qualifiers but can't receive a berth, according to Connie Mack rules, Enfield said.

Because the other two teams remaining (Majors, host team, and Drillers, UCO qualifier winner) had already qualified, Sandlot Ballard was awarded the berth.

"The good thing about this is we were able to determine a true champion and a regional berth,'' Enfield said. "We disliked that we weren't able to finish the tournament, but there's not a whole lot that we can do.''

Both semifinals had been scheduled for 9 a.m. — Batters Box Navy and Sandlot Ballard at NOC Enid's Failing Field and the Drillers and the Majors at David Allen.

Enfield said NOC Enid's field was unplayable until at least the early afternoon

Batters Box Navy coaches told Enfield if it wasn't able to play by 9 a.m., they would have to leave because of travel commitments.

Enfield had been asked to try to get the tournament done by 5 p.m. so the David Allen field could be prepared for Joan Allen's funeral at 6 p.m. Monday. Allen's family had donated the funds for the ballpark as a memorial and tribute to their late son David.

"Out of respect for her, we didn't want to delay the work on the field,'' Enfield said. "We didn't want to impose on what they needed to do.''

Many of the Sandlot Ballard players were without power.

With the forecast calling for more rain, Enfield decided to call off the rest of the tournament.

"There was another cycle of storms coming and we didn't know when we could start play,'' Enfield said. "Against the hard cap, we didn't feel like we could get the games in during the time period. You always want to finish it but we all things considered, we didn't have much choice. No one was complaining.''

Majors assistant coach Richie Tarango said his team was disappointed.

"This is our seventh or eighth rainout,'' he said. "This is my sixth summer here and we haven't had a summer like this since I've been here. We were really looking forward to the competition today. The teams that were left were going to be tough matchups and we needed the competition, especially with all the rainouts we have had this summer.''

The Majors, 12-2, will be hosting Newton, Kan. in a 5 p.m. doubleheader Tuesday and a 1 p.m. single game on Wednesday before going to the McPherson, Kan., Showcase on Friday and Saturday.

Enid will be one of five national regionals July 17-21.

David Allen Memorial Ballpark will host the Connie Mack state tournament on July 10-14.

Enfield said a record 14 teams are scheduled to play in the state tournament and 18 teams are set for the regional qualifier.

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