Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

June 11, 2014

Seniors leave Cowboys in better shape

Halfway through their careers at Oklahoma State, the 2014 senior class was coming off a season when it didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament and was going through a transition with Josh Holliday taken over as coach.

When that class of seniors left Allie P. Reynolds Stadium for the last time after Saturday’s 1-0 season-ending loss to the University of California Irvine Anteaters, they brought OSU its first regular season Big 12 championship and guided the Cowboys to the Super Regional for the first time since 2007.

“We’ve got a strength to our program right now that is very meaningful. There are high quality individuals that allowed us to get to this point leading us,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “They leave behind a program that is certainly much better than they found it. That should be the goal of every person that walks into a college program is to leave it better through their work, leadership and contribution to the school and the team. These kids have done that.”

Senior Vince Wheeland — who started on the mound Saturday and was drafted in the 24th round by the Houston Astros — said the seniors helped make Oklahoma State better.

“I couldn’t have chosen to play at a better place,” Wheeland said. “The seniors and everyone else definitely left in a much better place. It’s going to continue to grow and get better.”

The Cowboys won 48 games — the most since 1994 when OSU won 49. Holliday said the only spot his team came up short in Saturday was on the scoreboard.

“We play a lot of meaningful baseball. I’m not going to sit here and rehash it because I can’t give it it’s proper due but I believe we won the Big 12,” Holliday said. “That’s pretty remarkable considering the depth of the conference and what teams are doing. We’re very proud of that.  More than anything, I am proud of the accomplishment of a group of people to 100 percent give to each other. I don’t know how to explain that to you guys because it’s something that when you’re with them every single day you see it in every single fashion. It is something for many of us that we will always cherish. We don’t get to keep playing but it’s going to last forever because of what we earned.”

Wheeland was one of three OSU seniors taken in the Major League draft. Closer and all-time saves leader Brendan McCurry was selected in the 22nd round by the Oakland Athletics. Tanner Krietemeier was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round. Junior Zach Fish was selected in the 11th round by the Chicago White Sox and will sign with them. Jon Perrin was drafted in the  33rd round and hasn’t made a decision on his future. Holliday said it will be up to the younger players to step up next season.

“They need to inherit the need to lead and grow up to try to grow into their own skin,” Holliday said. “They have to replace the roles and efforts of kids like Vince Wheeland, Brendan McCurry, Tanner Krietemeier, Craig McConaughy and I could go on and on of every single kid that was in that uniform but is moving on because of graduation or moving onto professional baseball. This program is healthy and full of young people who now have a taste of what it’s like to get this far but have a better understanding of what it takes to get that next step.”

Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for the Stillwater News Press

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