Stillwater News Press

April 10, 2014

Pioneer baseball pummels rival Ponca City

By Derek Brown
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater was encouraged in many different ways on Thursday.

The Pioneers wanted to win at home, keep its streak going, win the first game of the Gladys Winters Tournament at Couch Park and beat rival Ponca City. Stillwater got it done with an 8-3 victory.

“I thought we played a pretty good game. I thought we hit well,” Stillwater coach Jimmy Harris said. “We were really close to us scoring a whole bunch of runs.”

Stillwater’s Sam Kraybill tossed six and two-thirds innings and picked up the victory. Nick Hollman came in and closed out the victory and earned the save.

“I thought Sam threw well and it was a win. We’re doing what we need to be doing right now,” Harris said.

Stillwater (18-1) was able to connect with the ball all game as it had 11 hits on the day. The Pioneers made life difficult for the Wildcats as Ponca City had five errors.

Will Fowler helped Stillwater at the plate by going 2 for 3, scoring two runs and getting an RBI.

“I just saw the ball pretty well,” Fowler said. “It was just a good team win to come out here and put eight runs on the board and beat rival Ponca City. It’s a good day to be a Pioneer.”

Stillwater embarked on its four-game schedule during its home Gladys Winters Tournament with a meeting with Ponca City on Thursday.

The Pioneers got on the scoreboard first in the second inning. Harrison Cornforth had Will Fowler at second base and Tanner Swick, base runner for Stillwater catcher Michael Higgins, at third. Cornforth got the ball past the Wildcats’ third basemen for a single and an RBI. Ryan Hoecker was the next batter up and he knocked in Swick with a hit to left field to take a 2-0 advantage.  

Kraybill was able to get out of a jam in the top of the third inning when the Wildcats had the bases loaded. Stillwater got out of the inning holding Ponca City scoreless.

The Wildcats had a tough time handling the baseball in the third inning and the Pioneers converted. Stillwater’s loaded the bases with two hits and an error. Ryan Wieligman put the ball into play and an error allowed Fowler to score. Stillwater led 3-0 after three innings.

The Pioneers piled on to their lead with a three-run fourth inning. T.J. Black scored from a fly out from Fowler. Jon Littell scored on an error for a 5-0 lead. Swick went to steal third with two outs and the throw went into the outfield and Swick went all the way home to lead 6-0.

Ponca City got on the scoreboard when Travis Nichols hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring Chase Kurtz home to cut the Pioneers’ lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning.

Stillwater added two runs in the fifth when Brooks Zimmerman drove in Black and Littell to add to its lead to 8-1 after five innings.

The Wildcats were looking to rally with just two innings remaining. Ponca City’s Blake Shepard hit in Devon Wilkins. Later in the top of the sixth Shepard scored to cut the Pioneers’ lead to 8-3 midway through six innings.

Stillwater denied Ponca City’s attempted rally to come out on top 8-3.

The victory marks Stillwater’s 17th game in a row. The Pioneers are now 5-0 at Couch Park.

“The boys are playing well. They’re playing extremely loose. They’re battling and doing the things they need to do,” Harris said.

The Pioneers will play a doubleheader Friday. Stillwater will start out with Mustang at 2 p.m. and Yukon at 4 p.m.

“We got two tough ones. (Against) Yukon we think that’s going to be a very good game,” Harris said.