STILLWATER, Okla. — According to many, the Stillwater High Pioneers weren’t supposed to be there.
When they were recognized as the runner-up, they were identified as the “surprise team” of the tournament.
But on Sunday, after the Stillwater High baseball team came up one run shy of winning the Brad Holt Memorial Tournament, the Pioneer players and coaches thought nothing of the sort.
“A lot of people said they were surprised we made it or whatever, but we weren’t,” said SHS assistant coach Chance Jeffery, who is coaching the squad this summer. “We go out and try to out-hustle everybody. When you do those little things, you make it a long ways.”
It’s easy, though, to see why people were surprised to see the Stillwater team make the tournament title game — and fall just 6-5 to the Stillwater Majors. After all, they were a group of soon-to-be seniors and juniors in high school, while many of their opponents featured recent high school graduates and even first-year college players.
“Maybe the age difference showed a little bit. But I’m about as proud of our guys as I can be,” Jeffery said.
The weekend performance also had their high school head coach Tony Holt feeling proud of his squad.
“I think it confirms what I’ve always believed, that we have a good program with good kids and good coaches,” Holt said. “They go into every game expecting to win and those kids stepped up against older competition and showed what they are made of and showed what Pioneer baseball is all about.”
The Pioneer players understood what they accomplished going up against college-aged players.
“It’s huge. When we go out against top schools like Edmond North, who won state, we are pretty much facing the same type of talent as we did this weekend,” junior Carson Teel said. “This is the type of players we’ll be facing next year, so it helps us out a lot to see we can compete with them.”