Continuing an arrangement that has lasted longer than many marriages, it was announced Tuesday the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division II World Series will remain in Enid at least through 2022.
Enid first hosted the annual JUCO national baseball championship series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in 2009 and the new three-year contract — the current agreement runs through 2019 — would mark 14 years for Enid as the host city. It’s a relationship that has grown each year with the Series becoming one of Enid’s most anticipated, and economically impactful, annual events.
The new three-year contract was awarded by the NJCAA Board of Directors following a competitive bidding process.
“All of us at the NJCAA are pleased to continue our relationship with Enid and David Allen Memorial Ballpark,” said former Division II Baseball Chairman and current NJCAA Director of Championships, Rod Lovett on Tuesday. “Each year the Series gets better and better and the committee is excited to see the event grow in Enid.”
According to VisitEnid, the estimated yearly impact of the ballpark is $1.3 million, a number that takes into account all the events and tournaments held at the ballpark in a given year. Each year, the 10 qualifying teams are partnered with a corporate or civic sponsor and are paired with a local youth baseball team.
Last season marked the 10th anniversary of the event in Enid and it ended in appropriately dramatic fashion.
With the 2018 championship game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning between top-seed LSU Eunice and No. 2 seed Parkland (Ill.), LSU Eunice’s Slate Fuller, with two outs, a two-strike count and a runner on first base, put one over the left field wall to give the Bengals a 5-3 walk-off victory and their sixth World Series title.
Hometown favorite Northern Oklahoma College Enid, making its third World Series appearance, finished third among the 10-team field.
There are 131 junior colleges nationwide that participate in NJCAA Division II baseball.
Over the previous 10 years, 45 players that have appeared in the World Series in Enid have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including gold glove Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (Parkland) and Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (Western Oklahoma), who was selected in the second round in 2010 by the Atlanta Braves. Simmons remains the highest draft pick among previous Series participants.
This year’s World Series at David Allen is slated for May 25-June 1.
Story provided by Enid News & Eagle
Written by: Dave Ruthenberg