A mere 2,800 miles from where they played high-school baseball together in Winter Garden, Kole Enright and Chris Seise are teammates again for the Spokane Indians — a Class A Short Season affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Before Friday night, the last time Kole Enright and Chris Seise appeared on a lineup card together was on May 20, 2016, in the 2016 FHSAA Class 9A State Semifinals.
There, at jetBlue Stadium in Fort Myers, the historic run that took the West Orange High baseball program to its first-ever Final Four came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Parkland's Stoneman Douglas High.
It would have been hard to have guessed then that, within 15 months time, the two would again share an infield — this time as professionals.
This was, after all, before Enright shot up the draft boards and was ultimately selected by the Texas Rangers in the third round of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. It was also before Seise put together a monster senior season for the Warriors in 2017, elevating him to where he was selected in the first round of this summer's draft — also by the Texas Rangers.
Even with the two being drafted by the same organization, a reunion this soon seemed unlikely, with Enright starting the season in Class A Short Season Spokane (Washington) after a strong Rookie League debut in 2016 — Enright hit .313 in 42 games in the Arizona Rookie League, driving in 17 runs with 14 extra-base hits.
But then Seise arrived in Arizona this summer and went on a tear. In 27 games in the Arizona Rookie League, Seise batted .336 and drove in 27 runs. He homered three times, hit three triples, five doubles and stole five bases.
And so when Enright got a text from Seise August 2 saying that he'd been promoted to Spokane — and that the two would be teammates once again — there was really only one way to react.
"I was ecstatic," Enright said.
Seise joined the Spokane Indians August 3, debuting in Single-A during a scheduled off-day for Enright. The next night — August 4 — the two roamed the infield together (Seise at shortstop, Enright at second base) in front of a home crowd of 5,935, in a stadium that sits a mere 2,800 from Heller Bros. Ballpark on the campus of West Orange High.
The Indians may have lost the game — snapping a six-game winning streak — but the evening still saw Seise drive in his first run as an Indian and the two former Warriors hooked up for a double-play.
For Seise, the ability to be thousands of miles from home and share the infield with a familiar face is an exciting opportunity.
"It’s awesome — to play high school with him a year ago and to paying on the same team," Seise said.
In Spokane, Enright will likely be able to lend Seise some guidance on some of the changes between playing in the Arizona Rookie League and Northwest League. In addition to an obvious increase in the talent level that would be expected in any promotion, playing games for an affiliate means larger crowds than in Arizona, where games are sparsely attended.
“We have to learn how to keep emotions under control (in front of the larger crowds)," Enright said. "That’s something I’ve struggled with at times.”
Not only that, but the living and travel arrangements are different. In Arizona, all of the complexes are within an hour drive of one another and there is no overnight travel. In the Northwest League, teams take true road trips by bus and stay with a host-family when they are in town for home games.
The host family is something Enright has found to be enjoyable so far in Spokane, noting that the family he stays with has been warm and welcoming and that he sometimes plays catch with the youngest son, who is 10, and is a big baseball fan.
Seise joins the Indians (23-24) in the midst of a playoff-push, with Spokane sitting 2.5 games behind the Tri-City (South Dakota) Dust Devils in the Northwest League's North Division. The experience of playoff-push should also be informative for the former Warriors, as it is a different equation than the high school playoff-entrance format which bases admission on a week-long district tournament.
During downtime, the two say they have considered the possibility that Seise, who figures to stay at shortstop, and Enright, who is training as a utility player who can play every infield position, could one day share the infield at Globe Life Park in Arlington — the home of the Texas Rangers.
"We've talked about it and we think that would be awesome," Seise said. "That would be crazy if that happened."
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].