By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Nobody likes rainouts but for the Stillwater High School baseball team, Thursday’s rain might have been just what the doctor ordered.
After playing three games in four days, the Pioneers got a much-needed break as an early morning downpour and cold temperatures pushed back the start of the Class 6A regional to Friday.
“Personally, it didn’t bother us that we had a rainout on Thursday,” Stillwater coach Tony Holt said. “It gave us another day of rest for our pitching.”
While the Pioneers (17-12) may have benefited from an extra day of rest, the road to state won’t be easy — even if all the games are in the friendly confines of Couch Park.
Stillwater will open the tournament at 11 a.m. Friday against arch rival Enid, a team that beat the Pioneers 11-6 in the Gladys Winters Tournament earlier in the year. The Pioneers will face either Bishop Kelley or Mustang in the second game Friday, two teams that have beaten the Pioneers already this season.
“I told the kids, of the other three teams in the regional, every one of them has beat us one time,” Holt said. “There’s not any reason to overlook anybody. We’re not good enough to do that. All three of those teams have our undivided attention because they have beaten us.”
Those three losses may not mean much now — especially with Stillwater playing some of its best baseball of the season — but in the double-elimination regional, two more losses would end Stillwater’s season.
“Enid spanked us pretty good in their tournament,” Holt said. “Hopefully we’ll play better than we did the last time we played them and give them a better battle. Of course, now it’s a lot more important than it was back then. It’s your regional tournament. It’s what you play for all year, so we’re looking forward to playing Enid again and hopefully we’ll give them a better game than we did last time.”
The extra day of rest also meant that Carson Teel will be available to pitch in the first game, but Holt said he still hadn’t decided whether it will be Teel, Sam Kraybill or someone else who gets the start.
“I haven’t decided whether or not to throw Kraybill the first or second game,” Holt said. “We’re also looking at Will Fowler or possibly even T.J. Black starting that first game. We’ll just have to see how everybody is feeling and who will match up the best with Enid.”
Should the Pioneers win, they will face the winner of the Bishop Kelley-Mustang matchup at 3 p.m. Friday, with the winner of that game advancing to the championship.
A loss will put Stillwater in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Friday. They would then have to win that game and win the 1 p.m. game Saturday to advance to the championship.