Jets open 2020 baseball season Saturday

The NOC Enid Jets Baseball Team begins defense of their 2019 NJCAA Division 2 Baseball Championship this weekend as the Jets host Northeast (NE) Community College for two doubleheaders this weekend.

First pitch is Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid.

The Jets are the pre-season #1 in the NJCAA.

NOC Enid is now coached by long time assistant Scott Mansfield who takes over for Raydon Leaton, now the Vice President for NOC Enid.

"It's been an adjustment," Mansfield said of becoming a head coach.  "There are so many administrative things that have to be done that I knew coach Leaton was doing but it's different because I have to make sure they are done.  It's challenging but I am learning every day."

The Jets have a nucleus of players returning from last year's championship team but as is the case in junior college baseball there are plenty of holes to fill.

NOC Enid has returning infielders Alec Buonasera and Shane Nixon on the left side and catcher Matthew Henderson who saw a lot of playing time in 2019.

"Those three give us a good returning group," Mansfield said.  "Its nice to have experience on the left side of the infield and at catcher because they are such prime positions."

On the mound, the Jets return a number of pitchers with experience including Evan Kowalski and Stevie Owings to lead the staff.

"The key for us is where we're at when conference play starts," Mansfield said.  "We'll be using different combinations early and then we'll settle on a lineup as we go along.  We have a lot of talented young players on our team."

How has Mansfield handled last year's championship with this year's team?

"We have embraced the challenge of this year's team writing it's own story," he said.  "Last year is last year, now it's a new year and our players know that they have to prove themselves every day.  We also know that we have a target on our back and we are going to have to be ready to compete every day."

"I like the mind set of our players," Mansfield said.  "We are embracing the challenge."

The Jets were 38-17 in 2019.