Chance Jeffery circles the bases during Stillwater High’s 2001 baseball season.

Chance Jeffery had more than his fair share of success as a baseball player. Now he hopes to have the same kind of success as a coach.

The 2002 Stillwater High graduate decided to coach one of the junior varsity squads of the Pioneers’ Pure Prairie League this summer after a chat with former skipper Gary Gardner.

“I think I was the last resort,” Jeffery said with a laugh. “I love this game to death and I would coach for free if I had to.”

Jeffery was a three-year starter for SHS and an All-Frontier Conference pick each year. During his senior season, he led the Pioneers in batting average (.393), on-base percentage (.509), RBIs (29), walks (20), home runs (three), triples (two) and doubles (10).

As if that weren’t enough, Jeffery also struck out 28 batters in 43 innings on the mound and was an All-State selection.

“It breaks my heart to watch these guys with the Stillwater Pioneer logo on their chest and not being able to be out there with them,” Jeffery said. “Being a Pioneer is something pretty special and I enjoyed it while it lasted.”

After graduation from SHS, Jeffery began his collegiate journey at North Central Texas College in Gainesville — an experience he didn’t really enjoy.

“The coach I played for was a real negative guy and nothing was ever good enough,” Jeffery said. “It was a learning experience and an eye-opener. Those guys knew their baseball, but they just didn’t know how to treat a person.”

Jeffery then had the opportunity to return to his home state the following season and compete for former Perry coach Raydon Leaton at Northern Oklahoma College in Enid. He had the privilege of being part of a Jets club that advanced to the Junior College World Series.

“That was the most fun year of baseball since my high-school days,” Jeffery said. “Coach (Leaton) gave me a second chance after (North Central) Texas and I was very grateful to get that chance.”

Since returning to Stillwater, Jeffery is enrolled at Oklahoma State taking core courses that didn’t transfer over from NCTC. While he hasn’t chosen a specific major, he does have a career goal in mind.

“I’m not really studying education per se right now, but I’d love to be a teacher and a coach,” Jeffery added. “That’s why I took the (Pure Prairie League) job — it had nothing to do with money. I just love the game ... sometimes I get more fired up than my kids.”

Jeffery had little to be fired up about Friday as his JV-2 squad lost, 20-2, in five innings to Cushing at Couch Park.

The Tigers scored 13 runs in the top of the second inning and the Pioneers scored their only two runs in the third. Despite the crushing defeat, Jeffery said he believes he can instill confidence in his players as well as a positive, winning attitude.

“This is my first coaching job — I know what to expect, I’m just not sure how to work out of it quite yet,” Jeffery said. “I really feel like I have the tools to teach these kids ... I’ll find my niche soon enough.”

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