Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Stephen Still sets records

Wolf Pack Athletics
Baseball senior Stephen Still high fives teammates. Still continues to set records in his last season at Loyola.

Stephen Still has left his name all over Loyola baseball’s record books. The senior ace of Loyola’s pitching rotation and Baton Rouge native is one win away from breaking the all-time wins record and already has the all-time strikeout record and the best career ERA in program history (2.80). He also stands first and second on the list for best single-season strikeouts.

Still grew up around baseball and credits his family as his inspiration for playing the game.

“My mom, dad, and my brother are all big baseball fans,” Still said. “And my dad was a coach for a while too. We played football too, but baseball was always the main sport in our family.”

Still’s path to joining the Wolf Pack was one that almost didn’t happen.

“I knew that I wanted to stay in-state for college, but Loyola wasn’t really on my radar at first,” he said. “Coach [Jeremy] Kennedy and the old assistant Coach [Steven] Bruce recruited me out of a local showcase and they got me to come take a campus visit, and I fell in love with it. When I sat down to make my decision, I ultimately felt like this was the place I was being called to go, so I committed.”

Still played well during his freshman season, despite having early doubts about how he would perform at the college level.

“I came in my freshman year super nervous about competing at this level,” said Still. “But I got lucky and was able to earn my first start pretty early in the season. My freshman season was a little bit of a rollercoaster with COVID-19 and everything, and I wasn’t really taking my game as seriously as I should have been to try and reach the level I wanted to be at first.”

He closed his freshman year with some highlight performances, including a one-hit, 10-strikeout performance over seven innings against Stillman College and a nine-strikeout, 123-pitch performance in the final game of Loyola’s season against Oklahoma City University at the NAIA regionals.

“We had the chance to host the regional for the first time in program history, and had lost the first game, so our season was on the line and Coach Kennedy put the ball in my hand, so that was a big moment for me,” Still said. “I think they had runners on base in pretty much every inning, but Coach Kennedy kept telling me to just take every inning one pitch at a time and focus on the task at hand, and it was really the first time I felt like I wasn’t in my own head and that’s really when it all started to click for me.”

And his strong performance in that game was not lost on his teammates.

“This was when I realized Stephen was just different,” said outfielder Tucker Ganley. “He competed toe to toe with one of the best teams in the NAIA. He gave it everything and held the OCU team to no runs through 7 innings. We ended up losing the game in extra innings, but his outing will always stick out to me. Not just how good he was that day, but about how badly he wanted us to win.”

Still would follow up that gritty performance with a stellar sophomore season, earning first-team All-Southern States Athletic Conference honors, posting a 7-2 win-loss record, and setting a new single-season record with 95 strikeouts, with a career-high 12 of them coming in one game, a 14-5 win against the University of Mobile in the SSAC Tournament.

“He has had several big moments,” Kennedy said. “He pitched extremely well in the regional tournament that we hosted in ’21, and again in ’22 at the regional against LSU Shreveport. He has given us a stable, true #1 for our rotation.”

His junior season saw even more consistency and improvement from Still, as he posted an 8-3 record, tossed a record 97 strikeouts, and earned another SSAC First Team All-Conference nod.

“He has been a huge piece to the elevation of the program as a whole,” Kennedy said. “He took on a big leadership role on the pitching staff, and has continued to grow by leaps and bounds year over year.”

Still would punctuate the season by breaking the Loyola career strikeout record in the SSAC semifinal game against William Carey University, pushing it to 254.

“It was a bit of a relief, honestly, to break that record,” Still said. “I’m glad I was able to do it, and you know that it’s something I’ll be able to look back on, but I broke it in like the first inning of that game, so I had to move on pretty quickly.”

And as the Wolf Pack started well this season, winning their first ten games of the year, so did Still, with a 4-0 record, with an ERA of 3.51 and 32 strikeouts in his first five starts.

“Having a guy like Stephen as a teammate for the past four years is something every baseball player dreams of,” outfielder Kason Cullins said. “When he gets on the mound, you know you have a chance to win. Being able to experience that over the past four years has been a blessing.”

But the records aren’t really on Still’s mind, even as he approaches arguably the biggest one yet.

“As I got closer to the strikeout record, it was on my mind a little more than I wanted it to be sometimes,” Still said. “So I just kind of want to help to give my team the best chance to win games this year. The records are nice, but they’re not my focus.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Richards
Matthew Richards, Sports Editor
Matthew is a sophomore mass communications major with a concentration in journalism. He is a New Orleans native who loves talking about the Saints and Pelicans and thinks the Cars franchise is seriously underrated.

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