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May 26, 2014

Holt Report: Hoecker finishes high school career strong

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ryan Hoecker, Stillwater High’s senior outfielder, couldn’t have painted a more successful picture to depict his final season with the Pioneers.

He was one of 17 seniors who led the Pioneers past Tulsa Kelley, 6-0, in the recent Class 6A State Baseball Championship game at L. Dale Mitchell Park on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman.

“I could not have asked for a better way to end my senior year,” Hoecker said. “It was the best way I could imagine. Not many teams get to win their last game. It was an amazing way to go out with a win and getting to play with all these guys who were my best friends.”

Hoecker, the son of Jennifer and Chad Hoecker, also earned one of the coaches’ awards during SHS’s recent baseball banquet as he was named recipient of the Brad Holt Baseball Pride Award.

The award was started by former Pioneer coach Bill Defee in memory of former SHS baseballer Brad Holt, who died in an automobile accident on July 4, 1991. The award continued during the head coaching stints of Gary Gardner and Tony Holt. First-year SHS coach Jimmy Harris continued the tradition this year.

“The award means a lot to me. I know Coach Holt didn’t coach this year but I was very close to him the last couple of years and I know he felt this way about me. It’s an honor to win this award,” said Hoecker, who had a productive summer season prior to his senior year and was on the Pioneer team that won the 2013 Brad Holt Memorial Tournament title.

The award annually goes to an unselfish player who makes positive contributions to his team.

“This award is close to our family and it’s a special award for Pioneer baseball,” Coach Holt said. “It means a lot. I know it did to Coach Gardner as well as me and it does to Coach Harris.

“We’ve had some great award winners in the past and Ryan falls into that category. He’s a tremendous young man from a great family. He’s a great student and a great person,” Coach Holt added.

Excelling in all areas is a way of life for Hoecker. He was a valedictorian in the 2014 SHS graduating class and maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

He plans to further his education at Duke University in Durham, N.C. while still deciding on his course of study.

“I’m going to Duke next year but I’m not sure what I’m going to major in,” said Hoecker. “I could possibly major in economics or maybe English, since I like to write.

“I think everything I learned in baseball will help me. Not so much the baseball skills but everything I went through in practice and working within a team,” he added.

Ron Holt is a columnist for the Stillwater News Press. He was a former News Press sports editor for more than 30 years.

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