Stillwater News Press

High School Sports

April 10, 2013

Michael Higgins hitting his stride for Pioneers baseball

STILLWATER, Okla. — Last season, Stillwater High School junior Michael Higgins got his first taste of varsity baseball only to be relegated back to the bench 11 games into the season when Parker Zimmerman returned from injury.

Now with Zimmerman at Wichita State, Higgins is once again the man behind the dish for the Pioneers. Only this time he’s not going to be giving up his role any time soon.

“Michael is improving,” Stillwater coach Tony Holt said. “He ended up catching 10 or 11 games for us last year when Parker Zimmerman got hurt. He played extremely well last year as a sophomore when he was thrown into the fire. We knew going in that he has the ability to be a very good catcher and a very good player. He’s still a young player and this is his first time being a full-time starter, but he’s improved a lot behind the plate and at the plate.”

But while most catchers are known more for their defensive ability — and Higgins is no exception with a rocket arm and nearly flawless technique — it was Higgins’ offensive skills that were on display last week as Stillwater swept a pair of district games against Bixby.

Friday, Higgins’ three-run double helped open the floodgates in an 11-1 run rule victory before his two-run home run Saturday in Bixby helped the Pioneers pull out a 7-4 win.

“It felt really good,” Higgins said. “I’m happy to finally get my bat going. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t doing so well, but I started really seeing the ball and hitting well in the Enid tournament and it’s just carried over.

“The run we gave up Friday was a direct result of a passed ball that I gave up. Carson (Teel) was pitching his butt off so I knew I had to do something to make it up for him. I just got a pitch to hit and was able to get some good wood on it.”

While both hits came when the game was still in doubt, handling pressure is nothing new to Higgins. Whether it’s smothering a Teel curveball or knocking in a big RBI when the time calls for it, Higgins’ experiences in the past have helped him ease into the pressure-packed, daily grind of becoming the everyday catcher for the Pioneers.

“It’s a tough position,” Holt said. “It’s kind of like a center in football. You handle every pitch of the game. … It’s a high-stress, high-pressure position because if the ball’s going back to the screen all day you’re going to have a tough time being successful. But he’s got the ability to be very good at it and he’s getting better at the plate. He’s doing a lot of good things for us, so we’re looking forward to him getting better every day.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
High School Sports
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
NDN Video
My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star
Must Read