By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
For the past week, the Stillwater High School baseball team has been stewing about a pair of losses to open the season.
Now the Pioneers hope to right the ship as they get ready for their home opener at 6 p.m. Friday against Norman North.
“We played two pretty good teams, but we didn’t play well,” Stillwater coach Tony Holt said. “I don’t think we did anything real well. We weren’t just horrible in any area, but we didn’t pitch well, we didn’t hit well and we didn’t necessarily play defense well. It’s kind of hard to beat good teams when you do that.”
It’s those early-season struggles that have forced the Stillwater coaching staff to return to the fundamentals this week, as they try to solve the problem before district play begins Saturday.
“I don’t know if we have to rededicate ourselves so much as it is getting back to the basics,” Holt said. “We’ve got good kids that do things the right way and always seem to do what we ask them to do. It’s not like there was a lack of effort last Saturday. ... We just didn’t play well. We just have to focus on getting back to basics defensively, offensively and just shore up every area. It’s been a good week in that respect. ... We’re only two games into the year, so I don’t know that we have to change a whole lot. We just have to do what every baseball team does in defense, pitching and hitting and we’ve got to do it better than we did on Saturday.”
But it isn’t all bad for the Pioneers. Stillwater’s offense did produce 15 runs in the doubleheader Saturday, giving it a much-needed boost as it heads into what will likely be a crucial weekend early in the season for the Pioneers.
“You’d like to think that if you score 15 runs in a doubleheader, you should be able to win,” Holt said. “I really think we could have swung the bat better, but it’s kind of hard to argue with 15 runs. Defensively and on the mound, it was the little things that got us. But we feel pretty confident going into the game (against Norman North).”
And while offense hasn’t been much of a problem for Stillwater this season, Holt knows it’s going to take a strong defensive effort to beat the Timberwolves.
“Norman North has a good ballclub,” Holt said. “They have good kids and we’ll certainly have our hands full Friday night. But we’re excited about playing at home. It’s our home opener and we know we’ll have a good crowd. We’re looking for a good crowd and we’ll have some fun and go out and compete.
“We got two district games Saturday at Tulsa Edison and then on Monday and Tuesday, we got district games against Muskogee. These first three games are very quality opponents. We play to win every game and we’re shooting to win every game, but the reality is that your season is going to be determined by how you do in your district play. We’re just trying to get better and win every game we can.”