Lance Seasor believes he has found something of a home away from home in Cape Girardeau.
In fact, he has actually made his summer home in Cape Girardeau the past three years as the second baseman of the Plaza Tire Capahas, who play the Wichita Gators at 10 p.m. tonight in the opening round of the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.
"I love it here," Seasor said. "I couldn't be happier playing for the Capahas."
Southeast Missouri is certainly a long way from the small eastern Kentucky community of Catlettsburg, which Seasor officially calls home.
But, while Seasor admits to at times missing his family and friends, that feeling has been more than offset by his "adopted" family of Capahas' manager Jess Bolen; Bolen's wife, Mary; the Bolens' son, Capahas right fielder Tommy Bolen; and the rest of his Plaza Tire teammates.
"Jess and Mary are about like family, and I like all the guys on the team," Seasor said. "It's a great atmosphere.
"Me and Jess watch a lot of baseball, and me and Tommy go fishing every chance we get. My parents have been down to visit, and being away from home doesn't bother me too much."
If not for a strong performance Seasor had in Cape Girardeau while playing for Morehead State against Southeast Missouri State during his sophomore season, he likely would have never wound up with the Capahas.
Seasor had a big Ohio Valley Conference series against the Redhawks, homering off Southeast All-American pitcher Tim Alvarez on Saturday and coming back with another home run the following day. As Southeast's analyst for its radio broadcasts, Bolen took notice.
"He had a real good series, and I remarked in the press box that I would love to have that kid play for me," Bolen said. "Their radio guy [Morehead State sports information director Randy Stacy] heard me. He asked me if I would really be interested, because Lance was looking for a place to play."
Recalled Seasor: "After the game, our SID brought me Jess's card. When I got home from the trip I called him, and everything has worked out great."
For both Seasor and the Capahas.
He has been among Plaza Tire's top players the past three years, and this season is the squad's second-leading hitter at .352, to go along with team highs of 30 runs batted in and 31 runs scored. Seasor also ranks second in home runs with two, is tied for first in triples with three and is third in doubles with 12.
But Bolen, whose squad is 24-6 and has won 10 straight games heading into the NBC World Series, said Seasor's contributions run much deeper than simply his play on the field.
"He's really been a good addition for us, and not just because he's a very good player," Bolen said. "He's a leader on the ballclub in more ways than one. The players really respect him, and he's a great kid, more like one of your relatives than one of your players. We do a lot of stuff together. He's like a son."
This summer has been the continuation of a spectacular year of baseball for Seasor, who was voted the OVC player of the year after leading Morehead State to a surprise third-place conference showing after the Eagles were picked to finish last.
Seasor's senior season for the Eagles saw him hit .366 with 15 home runs, 16 doubles and 50 RBIs.
"I couldn't ask for a better year all around," said Seasor, whose Morehead State teammate and close friend, all-OVC first baseman Bryan Ingram, also is playing for the Capahas this summer. "We finished in third place, which was a big improvement from past years, and this summer we've got 24 wins, and we're playing good going into the tournament."
About the only disappointment for Seasor this year is that he has hasn't received much interest from professional scouts, which might have something to do with his physical stature. He stands 5 feet, 8 inches and weighs 170 pounds.
"At first whenever the draft was held, I guess I was a little disappointed," Seasor said. "But you can only do as good as you can. If you don't get the opportunity, you can't do anything about that. I've had a good career, and I have no regrets."
After Seasor is done playing this summer, he will return to Morehead State, where he is scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in criminology. He hopes to either work in a federal penitentiary near his hometown or attend the Kentucky state police academy.
And, as Seasor prepares for life after baseball, he said with considerable regret that there is a good chance this will be his last summer playing for the Capahas.
"As much as I'd love to keep playing if it was closer [to home], this will probably be my last summer," he said.
Before he's through, however, he hopes to go out with a bang by helping the Capahas thrive in Wichita.
"I think if we go out there and hit the ball well, and our pitching staff pitches like we have been," he said, "I think we can do really well, like win four or five games."