Nixa’s Miss October has been Katie Faulk since her freshman season three years ago.
The senior center-fielder can look back on multiple post-season heroics and look forward to adding to her legacy as a prime-time performer during this week’s Class 5 District 11 action at Nixa.
“This is always my favorite time of the year,” Faulk said. “I’m looking forward to (this week) a lot.”
Faulk’s post-season resume includes a .368 batting average (7-for-19) with a triple and a home run, to go along with six runs scored and eight RBIs in six games.
The consensus is it’s no coincidence she’s been so clutch come Districts.
“I think when the pressure is high, I concentrate a little more,” Faulk said. “(Coach Matt) Walker always tells our freshmen (Districts) is a different game with a completely different atmosphere. It’s crazy. Everything is a little bit hyper-focused. I feel like I do better in the pressure situations. I love the stress of the moment. It makes me do my best.”
“She steps up in pressure situations,” Walker said. “She takes a deep breath, clears her mind and tends to step up.”
As a freshman, Faulk delivered a two-out, bases-loaded triple with two outs in the seventh inning to tie things up with Ozark in the Class 4 District 10 championship game.
“I always joke that freshmen don't know any better. She's carried it over since then and has continued to do a good job for us,” Walker said.
Faulk has held Nixa’s leadoff job for four years. She joined the Lady Eagles’ 100-hit club at the start of this season and is up to 122 career hits.
“Everybody kind of feeds off of her,” Walker said. “If she has a good at-bat to start the game, everyone feels more at ease. She's going to be missed in that leadoff spot.”
Nixa (20-8) entered its District opener versus Springfield Central on Tuesday as the No. 1 seed. The Lady Eagles were unbeaten versus their District foes during the regular season.
“The whole year, we've been playing with a target on our backs,” Faulk said. “We know we get a better game out of everybody. When you know people are coming for you, you want to keep proving yourself.”
The District features seven teams with 15 wins or more. No. 2 Ozark (22-7) and No. 5 Carthage (20-13) are peaking. Ozark has won 11 of its last 12 games and Carthage has taken 10 of its last 12.
The District features three of the best pitchers in all of southwest Missouri in Nixa’s Maddy Meierer, Ozark’s Jordyn Foley and Carthage’s Jensyn Elder.
“It’s going to be interesting, I think 1-7 anybody could win it,” Walker said.
Class 5 District 6
1 p.m. — Springfield Central (1-14) vs. Nixa (20-8); 3 p.m. — No. 5 Carthage (20-130 vs. No. 4 Kickapoo (18-10); 5 p.m. — No. 7 Glendale (17-10) vs. No. 2 Ozark (22-7); 7 p.m. — No. 6 Joplin (15-13) vs. No. 3 Republic (15-9-1)
4:30 p.m. — Carthage-Kickapoo winner vs. Central-Nixa winner; 6:30 p.m. — Joplin-Republic winner vs. Glendale-Ozark winner
4:30 p.m. — Championship