Big 12 baseball: Baylor's Steve Smith is Oklahoman's Coach of the Year

The No. 1 thing that helped Smith and this Baylor team was experiencing heartache in last spring's regional.
by John Helsley Published: May 21, 2012
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Baylor coach Steve Smith acknowledges the cliché, yet even at the risk of betraying his typically engaging and entertaining chatter, goes all one-game-at-a-time in explaining his team's runaway romp to the Big 12 regular season title.

And with reason.

“And I'm going to tell you when that started,” said Smith, The Oklahoman's Big 12 Coach of the Year, “it was last year when Cal walked off the field at Rice.”

As in walk-off win for Cal; walkaway loss for Baylor. One strike away from a regional championship last June at Rice, Baylor lost 9-8 when Cal got a two-run single in a four-run bottom of the ninth.

“When we lost the three-run lead in the ninth inning of a championship game in a regional,” Smith said, “the value of one pitch at a time was never made more clear.”

So Smith and his Bears have ridden that sour memory, grinding out wins — sweeping weekend after weekend in the Big 12 for a while — throughout this season.

Their 18-0 start to league play was the best in the Big 12's 16-year history. And their 24-game overall winning streak set a school record.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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