By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
For the first time in the 22-year history of the Brad Holt Memorial Tournament, the Stillwater High Pioneers walked away from Couch Park as tournament champions.
After falling short a year ago to the Stillwater Legionnaires in the title game, the Pioneers won in walk-off fashion against Ponca City in the tournament's first year without American Legion baseball teams.
"It's great for this family, they put a lot of effort into this and coach (Tony) Holt is one of my best friends and we just wanted to do it for him and his family," senior Carson Teel said. "It was disappointing last year when we lost it, but it feels really good this year."
The rivals battled back and forth before Sam Kraybill knocked in Gage Hines in the first extra inning to give Stillwater the 7-6 victory.
Hines, the hero Saturday against Putnam City North, made up for some errors behind the plate — which led to Ponca City scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh — but redeemed himself leading off in the bottom of the eighth. After hitting a single through the left side, the SHS catcher advanced to second on a ball in the dirt. An grounder by Harrison Cornforth allowed Hines to advance to third, where he scored on a shot to left off the wall — that would have been a home run had the wind not been blowing in — by Kraybill.
"He threw me two curveballs to begin with and I was just sitting dead-red with a 1-1 count," said Kraybill, who went six innings as Stillwater's starting pitcher before Riley Williams came in the final two innings to earn his second win in relief this weekend. "I knew a fastball, or something good, was coming in. So I just sat on the fastball and it was right there. Got a good swing on it and made contact."
Teel, who went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and reached on error in seventh to allow Spencer Parsons to score the game-tying run, was named the tournament most valuable player.
Pick up Tuesday's Stillwater NewsPress for more from the championship game.
Championship game linescore
STILLWATER 7, PONCA CITY 6, 8 innings
PCHS 003 020 10 — 6 11 2
SHS 201 020 11 — 7 8 1
Furber, Shepard (7) and Wicker; Kraybill, Williams (7) and Hines. W-Williams. L-Shepard. 2B-PC, Nichols; SHS, Teel, Kraybill.