Stillwater News Press

High School Sports

May 7, 2014

Pioneers pound Bartlesville, Booker T Washington to reach regional title game

STILLWATER, Okla. — When Stillwater High failed to reach state last year while hosting a regional tournament, the Pioneer players felt they had left some work unfinished.

So they decided to take it out on Wednesday’s opponents in this year’s regional tournament at Couch Park.

Stillwater got out to an early lead against Bartlesville, before having to hold on for a 11-6 victory in the opener, then blasted off against Booker T. Washington to the tune of 24-5 in five innings.

“This year we are a completely different team, we have a different mindset and we’re all grown up a little bit,” said SHS senior pitcher Carson Teel, who picked up the win against BTW. “Last year we were a little immature, but this year we have a better idea of what it takes to get it done and that’s what we’re showing right now.”

Stillwater senior Michael Higgins had a memorable two games in the first day of the regional tournament.

Higgins hit a grand slam in the first inning against Bartlesville to set the tone early, then found himself in another bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the fourth against Booker T. Washington.

The result was the same. The senior catcher cracked a 3-0 count over the left field wall for his second grand slam of the day.

“He threw me three balls and usually I don’t get the green light on 3-0 and so I figured I would just swing at it,” Higgins said. “He gave me a fastball I could hit — it was maybe a little down, but I like them there.”

While that might have been impressive enough, teammate Tanner Swick created a memory to rival Higgins in the same inning. Swick, a senior, came in and hit a pinch-hit grand slam for his first varsity hit.

“Tanner we pinch-hit just to give everyone the chance to play and what a memory he’s going to have for the rest of his life,” SHS coach Jimmy Harris said. “He was so excited. His mom and grandma were jumping up and down. It was just awesome.”

It capped the second 10-run inning for the Pioneers, having collected 10 runs in the third inning with Jon Littell getting a solo home run as one of three extra base hits in the third — Tyler Burnett and Ryan Wieligman each got doubles in their second at bats in the inning.

The explosion of offense against BTW gave Teel plenty to work with — though it did give him some time to cool off after allowing just one baserunner through the first three innings. The Stillwater ace went the whole 5 innings and was responsible for the five runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out eight.

“That many runs scored (by your offense) in a day, you’ve got to thank everybody for that,” Teel said. “I’m probably being greedy, but I feel like I shouldn’t have given up those five. But I love that my team got that many runs for me.”

Stillwater is one win from a trip to Class 6A state, and will await an opponent for Thursday’s championship game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The Pioneers will face the winner of the 4 p.m. elimination game between Booker T. Washington and the winner of Wednesday’s late elimination game between Bartlesville and Norman.

“We’ve just got to go out there and do what we know we can. We can’t come out and just try to hit home runs all day or try to do too much,” Teel said.

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