Zach Boydston knows his team has talent, but it isn’t making plays at crucial moments right now.
Stillwater High dropped its second-straight game in the 27th Annual Brad Holt Memorial Tournament at Couch Park on Friday.
The Pioneers lost their opener in a run-rule Thursday and it was the same story Friday with a 8-0 defeat in five innings to the Dallas Tigers of Oklahoma.
Stillwater couldn’t get much going offensively against the Tigers as it was held to only one hit, coming in the fourth inning from Jackson Burns. Boydston said most of their struggles could be attributed to the outstanding play of Tigers’ pitcher Matt Floyd, a Bristow native.
“Their pitcher today was outstanding,” Boydston said. “He hit his spots and overpowered some of our guys. He really controlled the game and that is a great job from him.”
The Tigers, a squad made up primarily of Tulsa area players, didn’t allow a run in either game they played Friday, beating the Oklahoma Lookouts 11-0 in their first contest.
Tigers coach Mike Krehbiel said it was a good start for his team to get some momentum by going 2-0 on the day.
“You want to put yourself in position where if it does rain and they cancel Guthrie if it rains, you can stay here and still play,” Krehbiel said. “That is really our goal. I threw 1 and 2 today. Both of them are still set up where they can still throw on Sunday. I feel pretty good about where we are at the moment and now we have to win tomorrow.”
Defensively, Floyd and the defense shined against the Pioneers, but the offense didn’t slouch, either. The Tigers had six hits and took advantage of four Stillwater errors to earn the win.
“We swung the bats alright,” Krehbiel said. “We still have to clean up our guys’ approaches to the plate. We just keep working on it.”
One of the many Tiger players who had a good day was right fielder Kellen Pokoski, an Owasso native. Pokoski, who was batting in the 6-hole, went 2 for 2 on the day with a double and two RBI on top of a run scored.
“I feel like we played really well,” Pokoski said. “It was a better pitcher than last game and he threw a lot harder. We responded well and pieced up balls. Coach told me the other day that I was dropping my bat and getting low and that I needed to stay up. I worked on that a little bit and it is nice to start hitting again.”
Krehbiel said Pokoski really took to the conversation he had with the Ram last week and was impressed with his game.
“One thing I wanted him to make an adjustment on from that week to this week, he made it and that is why he was 2 for 2, he hit the ball,” Krehbiel said.
The Tigers first few runs came across by way of wild pitches from Stillwater starter Isaac Stebens. Still, though, the Pioneers went into the third down only 2-0.
However, the Tigers exploded in the third, racking up five runs and eventually Boydston had to pull Stebens for reliever Zac Connelly.
“It felt great. They are a good team,” Pokoski said. “I knew we kind of had it when we were chipping away but once we hit that 5 spot, I feel like we had it in the bag. We just started having fun and letting go, taking big hacks.”
Boydston pointed to the four errors as a big glaring number as they happened on a lot of infield plays that were routine, but allowed the Tigers to get momentum because Stillwater kept making mistakes.
“We’re still young on experience,” Boydston said. “Guys who haven’t had as much playing time are still learning. That is nothing against them, but there are some plays that could have been made. To be a good ball team, you have to make plays. That is something that we will learn from and get better. We still competed. I am proud of the way we fought. We had some tough bounces today.”
Stillwater’s next game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Couch Park against the Lookouts. The Pioneers will look to get momentum going into the medal games Sunday.
“I think as hitters, if we can stick to our approaches and play fundamental defense, we will be fine,” Boydston said. “I don’t think it is anything the other team is doing that is hurting us, it is more self-inflicted, but we will get better and I think we have two good chances to improve this weekend.”