NORMAN — As the 22 players of the Stillwater High baseball team — along with several managers — formed a dog pile near the mound at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman to celebrate the school’s first state title since 1957, several members of the 2012 state-qualifying team looked on and cheered.
But those former players from 2012 were just as instrumental in the state championship as every single player on the 2014 title winners.
Before that special season that had a senior class with two players on Division I teams — Corey Hassel with Oklahoma State and Parker Zimmerman at Wichita State — it has been seven long years since Stillwater had even made it to state. And that senior class, which also featured starters Jerame Littell, Hayden Killam and Boo Todhunter, paved the path for this group of Pioneers to finally reach the sport’s pinnacle.
“That was an influential group and I’m so thankful to have them as a part of my life,” said senior Carson Teel, who was a sophomore on the 2012 team. “This is definitely partially theirs. They should get a ring. They definitely had a big impact on our success this year.”
This year’s squad took the next step for Stillwater. They won the championship, and it’s theirs.
But the group that has said all year how close they were, knows that once a Pioneer, always a Pioneer. And that this championship doesn’t just belong to them, but also to the teams that failed to win it between now and 1957.
That includes teams that had future Major League players Josh Fields and Matt Holiday.
“We know that there’s been so many great Stillwater teams that haven’t been able to get it done, so we’ve been working on doing this since we were little kids,” said senior Jon Littell, who was also on the 2012 squad. “I don’t think anybody ever doubted that we could do it.”