Ty Wilson may not have the name notoriety of some his teammates on the Stillwater High baseball team.
But while MLB scouts have fawned over Pioneers like Gage Gundy or Ethan Holliday, Wilson – along with a multitude of other contributors – has been just as impactful in getting SHS to this week’s state tournament for the first time since 2019.
“Ty has been big for us – we have him in the five hole for a reason,” Stillwater coach Jimmy Harris said. “He’s no surprise to us, we’d seen some of the success he’s had having kind of come up this year from nowhere. He gets an opportunity and he makes the very best of it.”
That’s been the common theme during the season for Stillwater.
The top half of the lineup for the Pioneers has formidable batters with Gundy, Holliday, Owen Coil and Anthony Smith.
But even they have had hitting slumps during the heart of the season.
While the big hitters were struggling, players like Wilson, Talon Kendrick and Parker Jeffery in the bottom half of the lineup found ways to get on base – for Jeffery it has been equal part hits with the bat and being hit by pitches – and produce runs.
So when the big bats were reawakened last weekend with the start of the postseason, it became more of a complete lineup – as evidenced by a 25-run output against Booker T. Washington.
“When everybody feels like they’re contributing, they just believe,” the Stillwater coach said. “I think that’s where they’re all at right now.
While the Pioneers appear to be peaking at the right time, so too does their opponent in Thursday’s first round of the state tournament to be held on Union High School.
Yukon, which Stillwater faced earlier this year, has found its stride the back half of the season.
The Millers lost to SHS, 10-2, at the end of March that was the start of a four-game losing streak. But since then, they have won 14 of their past 15 games – including a three-game sweep in regional action, to become one of four teams from District 1 to advance to state.
“I don’t know that anyone has a record like that over their last 15 games. They’re probably one of the hotter teams right now,” Harris said. “… We’re not, by any stretch of the imagination, overlooking them. We’re going to throw the best available arm that we have, that’s kind of the way we are taking this matchup.”
Yukon wasn’t the one team tested in district play that proved it to be invaluable for the postseason.
Stillwater, which finished fourth in District 4, is one of three teams from the district to advance to state. And the district champs, Union, had its season ended in regional play by district gore Bartlesville – which finished fifth right behind the Pioneers.
“I just think playing those kinds of quality teams helps you,” Harris said. “We’ve got to see a lot of really good arms … and our pitchers have had to throw to some really good hitters. We’ve had to do a little bit of all of it, so we worked on all that stuff preparing for our games.”
Those battles throughout the season helped Stillwater find its way back into the state tournament.
Facing challenges all season, the Pioneers had them again at the regional – including being down to its final two outs of the season when Coil hit a two-run home run to force extra innings and eventually a winner-take-all contest.
Facing yet another unorthodox situation in that contest, the Pioneers found themselves up by two runs late in the game before an injury to the home plate umpire postponing the completion of the game by 24 hour.
“We say those things, their parents say those things, ‘Hey, it’s not over until it’s over,’ and I think the kids believe that, but even sometimes it’s hard to execute that,” Harris said. “We did that.”
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