The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — At about 2:50 p.m. last Monday, Shannon Enfield was in his classroom at Southmoore High School when an announcement came over the intercom.
“They said to hold the kids in place because they’re monitoring severe weather,” Enfield said.
A few moments later, city weather sirens could be heard. Then, the intercom clicked back to life, only to seemingly go ead. Enfield directed his students.
“I told the kids to run,” he said.
Not just anywhere. There are safe rooms at Southmoore for such occasion.
“They knew the room number,” Enfield said. “We had done the drill before.”
Less than a minute later, the intercom came back to life. Everybody was told to get downstaris to their safe rooms.
“I went down the north stairwell and, as we came out, on the bottom floor, I looked to my left which is where the doors leading outside the building are,” said Enfield, who could see through windows facing the same direction. “It looked like midnight in Waco. It looked like the air was in motion.”
Over the next hour, many Southmoore students would come to learn that their homes had been lost in the storm. In all, Enfield has heard as many as 200 students may have lost their homes. Also, Enfield learned a lesson that some students react differently to academics and mortality.
“Some high school kids won’t move when I tell them to open their book,” he said. “They’ll move when I tell them to run.”
Nobody at the high school has been unaffected.
“Every kid that goes to Plaza Towers goes to Southmoore,” Enfield said. “Every kid that goes to Briarwood goes to Southmoore.”
Also, while the tornado has wreaked mortal, physical and financial damage. It has also thrown a wrench into the summer baseball season. Consider it a very small story within a much bigger story. Still, it’s an important story.
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Enfield has coached baseball at Norman High, Norman North, Mustang and Southmoore. He’s run two of those programs, but summer ball is dear to his heart and he finally has summer team that represents the entirety of the area.
To facilitate his summer baseball dream, Enfield is not above creating, from scratch, the statewide framework required to place such a team within.
Remember the Pure Prairie League? That was Enfield’s invention and he had almost the whole state participating.
Right now, he’s the state director of the AABCOK, or the American Amateur Baseball Congress of Oklahoma. With headquarters in Farmington, N.M., the AABC is also the organizer of the Connie Mack World Series, which can draw up to 100,000 spectators over its week-long run in Farmington each August.
Additionally, Enfield is the commissioner of the Les Beckham League, a league of eight Connie Mack (18 and under) teams.
The AABC maybe the last summer baseball organization doing things right. Its teams play in leagues, then for state titles, then regionals and a world series, a far cry from so many travel teams that play nothing but pay-to-play tournaments with no history and no prestige no matter how big the trophy.
The AABC is healthy.
In addition to the Les Beckham League, many more Tulsa area teams are AABC sanctioned and eligible for postseason play.
In the state, there’s also an 18-team Sandy Koufax (14 and under) league in Northwest Oklahoma and a 10-team Sandy Koufax league in the Bartlesville area.
Enfield is running one league and overseeing others. Also, like Bud Selig when he still owned the Brewers, he’s operating a team in the Les Beckham league.
He won’t be in the dugout, but is general managing the Cleveland County Boomers. And of all the baseball pies Enfield has his fingers in, it’s the one nearest to his heart.
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The season opens at 6 p.m. Thursday at Southmoore, when the Boomers take on Southmoore’s varsity summer team in a pair of seven-inning games.
That’s the norm, a pair of sevens or one nine-inning game over the course of a schedule that has 20 dates on it before the postseason begins the third week of July.
Enfield staged tryouts, but was prepared to hold positions for any Cleveland County high school — Norman High, Norman North, Moore, Westmoore, Southmoore , Noble and Little Axe — graduates who needed a place to play and weren’t too old to participate.
The Boomers are coached by Cody Davis, assistant baseball coach at Hillsdale Baptist College, and assisted by Cody’s father, Eddie, Hillsdale’s head coach.
Hillsdale’s diamond was to be the Boomers’ home field, but the college remains neck deep in facilitating tornado relief. Still, if the Boomers must go elsewhere to play their home games, Enfield believes the team has options enough to honor its schedule.
The roster includes a trio of Norman North grads in Billy Engel, Luke Jones and Austin Taylor. Matt Foster is from Norman High, Bobby Pierce and Tre’ Edwards are from Southmoore and Jeremy Smith from Little Axe.
Other Transcript area players include Ethan Plavchak and Blayne Wyatt from Purcell and Cooper Treadaway from Washington.
Midwest City, Stroud, Piedmont, Yukon, Christian Heritage, Capitol Hill, McGuinness, Luther and Mt. St. Mary’s are also represented on the roster.
Though AABC rosters are not eliminated by geography, Enfield is dedicated to making the Boomers as Cleveland County inclusive as he possibly can. And, whether his players come from the county or not, he’s dedicated to guiding them toward the next level as well or better than any other summer baseball organization.
“I don’t charge anything, but if you have questions, I’ll answer them, and if I have to, I’ll put you in my car and drive you to the college. I’ll take you up there,” he said. “There’s a place for every kid if he really wants to play and that’s part of what I believe our mission is.”
So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you have a team.
Thursday, the Boomers are at Southmoore. Saturday, they’re back at Southmoore to play the OKC Drillers. Monday and Tuesday, they’re in Lawton.
Three years ago, the AABC wasn’t operating in Oklahoma. Now, it has a toehold and is headed toward thriving. And, it’s a good group to be lined up with. More than 14,000 teams play under its umbrella.
Best of all, it makes room for a county team, in a real league, playing for real hardware, in a real framework with real history.
Somebody had to do it.
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