NORMAN — The Cleveland County Boomers opened play at the Connie Mack state tournament on Thursday, falling to the Enid Majors in the first day of competition.
The Boomers, comprised of athletes from around Moore, Norman, Purcell, Washington, Little Axe and several other towns, fell 6-2 in the double-elimination tournament. They’ll take the field at 2:30 p.m. today at Enid’s David Allen Memorial Ballpark to face the OKC Drillers in an elimination game.
The Boomers and the rest of the teams have competed in the Les Beckham League, which served to seed the state tournament. All of the competition operates under the American Amateur Baseball Congress, which will host a regional and national tournament in the following months.
Boomers coach Cody Davis, an assistant at Hillsdale Baptist, said the Les Beckham League, in its first year, along with the state tournament, give the kids a chance to compete outside of school in an organized program.
“Just being able to get out and play ball and not sit around all summer long is great,” he said. “Some kids get seen by colleges looking at them, but it’s mostly just the chance to get out and play more.”
For some, it’s a chance to play much more. In addition to the busy summer schedule each of the six Les Beckham League teams and three provisional teams kept, the state tournament offers squads a chance to go even further. The winner of this weekend’s tournament will advance to the regional bracket at TCU in Fort Worth, with the league providing up to $2,000 of travel assistance. And the team that wins the regional, one of seven such tournaments hosted throughout the country, will advance to the national tournament next month in Farmington, N.M.
No Oklahoma team has made it past the regional in the three seasons teams from the state have competed. But with growing interest in the organization, commissioner Shannon Enfield sees a day when that could happen.
“We’ve never had an Oklahoma team get there yet,” said Enfield, a longtime high school coach in Oklahoma before he joined the organization. “But whoever wins the regional gets $10,000 in travel money to go the AABC world series.”
Enfield hopes to have 16 teams in the AABC program next summer, possibly bringing in teams that currently compete in American Legion organized play.