STILLWATER, Okla. —
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. A coin, for example, played a huge part in the Class 6A regional Saturday at Couch Park.
“You never think a toss of the coin is that important sometimes,” Stillwater High School baseball coach Tony Holt said. “You usually don’t worry about it until you get in a tie game. Then you start to think, ‘Well, I sure wish we were the home team.’”
A little spare change may have contributed to the Stillwater High School baseball team’s season-ending 4-3 loss to Mustang, but it was a different type of spare change that played the biggest factor for the Pioneers.
Four times Stillwater (18-12) had a runner in scoring position with less than one out through the first five innings against Mustang starter Chris Gibbons. Four times they came up empty.
“We just couldn’t move the runners over,” Stillwater senior Nate Jolliff said, fighting back the tears. “That’s a good pitcher over there that they threw at us. It was just hard.”
Even when the Pioneers did manage to scratch across the tying run on Taylor Throne’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh, it was Gibbons again who delivered the final blow — a one-out single with the bases loaded to win the game.
“The kids gave a great effort and it was just a struggle all day for us,” Holt said. “Gibbons is good. He’s good on the mound and he’s good at the plate. We already faced him and he’s one of the best pitchers around. He made it tough on us all day and then he had the key hit at the end.”
Mustang (24-13) struck first as the normally solid Stillwater defense had some uncharacteristic problems. After singling to lead off the bottom of the third, Shannon Kyle took second thanks to a balk. It looked like Stillwater starter Gunner Black might get out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout, but Stillwater’s first error of the inning allowed Kyle to score.