The Duncan Banner
Next spring, Dillon Stanley will get the chance to live the childhood dream of almost every young baseball players: playing ball at the next level. Following an impressive career as a pitcher and second baseman for Duncan, Stanley will continue life on the diamond at Redlands Community College with fellow Duncan alumnus Christian Thaxton.
“It was so fun being able to play here in Duncan and I’m fortunate that I’m able to keep playing in college,” Stanley said. “It was a great group of guys to be with.
We got to travel to different places all the time and seeing the crowds there, they were never as big as the ones in Duncan. The majority of the time we have a ton of people watch our games, and that’s an awesome thing.”
For Stanley, the decision came down to college’s infrastructure and its proximity to home.
“There are a lot of nice, new indoor facilities and I enjoyed touring the campus,” Stanley said. “My grandparents aren’t far away and the school is a lot closer to home than some of my other options.”
At the later part of Stanley’s high school career, his focus shifted to life after graduation. Opportunity arose when Thaxton, now a sophomore at RCC got Stanley in touch with the college’s coach. The coach saw all he needed to when he visited to watch Stanley play in March.
It’s the bonds with the players who came him before him like Christian, Kale Thaxton and Tyler Wilkins, that Stanley will remember most when looking back on his playing time at Duncan.
“They’ve always been great and were guys that can help you out along the way,” Stanley said. “Tyler kind of took me under his wing and made me more comfortable playing. In baseball, it’s important to know that you’re out they’re playing for a reason and that’s how I felt.”
Those bonds have continued on past playing for the Demons, as the four have come together to host a local youth baseball camp at Abe Raizen Field from June 24-7.
As far as Stanley’s memories on the field, it’s no contest: Duncan’s come from behind, walk off win against Del City on Senior Night this spring still stands out the most.
“That’s one of my greatets memories because we had just played nine or 10 innings two nights before, we had been losing down and it was a total team effort,” Stanley said. “Seeing DJ Schornick hit that walk off single was something I’ll always remember.”
Since the days of tee ball, it’s been all baseball, all the time for Stanley. His toughest competition may have come after the high school baseball season ends, as his summer team in Burkburnett, Texas includes the top players from Dallas, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
“I’ve learned so much playing summer ball working with the junior college coaches,” Stanley said. “You’re playing against a lot of guys have signed on to play in college. Last weekend we played against a couple guys that will be going to OU.”