Claremore Daily Progress

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May 18, 2014

State baseball championship caps big year for Stillwater athletics

NORMAN — It had been nearly 60 years since Stillwater High was crowned champions of baseball.

Had been the operative word.

The Pioneers, propelled by closer turned starter Nick Hollman, rolled through Tulsa Kelley in the Class 6A title game at L. Dale Mitchell Park and rewrote Stillwater High history with a 6-0 victory for the school’s first state title since 1957.

“We’ve been looking forward to this moment since we were eighth graders, and even before that when we were playing together since we were in elementary school,” Hollman said. “... It’s pretty great. I’m at an all-time high right now.”

Saturday’s state title was a culmination of one of the greatest years for Stillwater sports. It was the third state championship this school year won by a Pioneer athlete program — the boys swim team and the loaded wrestling roster also claimed crowns.

“We’re so excited about it. The last state championship in wrestling was 1970, swimming was ‘98 and baseball goes all the way back to ‘57 — so it’s been a long time for Stillwater,” Stillwater High activities director Tucker Barnard said. “I just know that these players and these coaches have worked so hard to accomplish their goals. It’s a lot of fun.”

Hollman, whose brother Max suddenly passed away in his sleep at the age of 30 early in the baseball season, pitched lights out for the Pioneers in just his third start. The senior pitcher took a no-hitter into the sixth — with a weak dribbler on the infield being the only hit given up — and struck out the last batter he faced before receiving a standing ovation as fellow senior Gunner Black recorded the final two outs.

“To win this for the seniors, all 17 of them, is just a special moment, especially for Nick,” said junior Brooks Zimmerman, as the players wore the same uniforms in the title game as they did to Max’s funeral. “I just couldn’t think of a better ending to the season.”

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