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Mason MeeksAs a senior, Mason Meeks is enjoying his best season at the plate for the Newkirk High School baseball team.Baseball is Meeks' only sport at NHS when he is a key performer for the Tigers as a second-year starter who plays second base and bats in the middle of the order.Meeks has been drawn to baseball since he first played the game on an organized level around age five.He revealed, "It's just been the one that I've been the best at, and I guess it's just because like football is more of like a team thing, and in baseball is kind of individual, but at the same time, it's a team sport, too."Describing his approach to athletics, Meeks stated, "I just try to work hard, no matter what. ...I just practice like I'm going to play and just try to be focused on what we need to accomplish.I just try to have fun because I think people, any more, take the fun out of it."NHS Head Baseball Coach Curtis Layton elaborated on Meeks' contributions, forwarding, "Mason has done different things for us throughout his years in the program.He's had a great year at the plate, and he's been solid on defense for us, so I'm real pleased with Mason.He's a valuable part of our baseball program."Mason is the 18-year-old son of Rod and Tammy Meeks.As a person, Mason called himself easy-going and added, "I just like to have fun.I try to stay out of trouble."He listed "God and family" as his priorities in life.He attends the First Presbyterian Church of Newkirk.Meeks' interests match those of many rural teen-age boys.He likes to spend time with friends and girlfriend and also enjoys hunting, especially pursuing pheasant, and going fishing for all species of fish. At NHS, Meeks is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America, and National Honor Society.In FFA,(Continued on page 7)(Continued from page 6)he shows cattle and he has also gained the chapter farmer and state farmer degrees.The class Meeks enjoys most is Ag.His favorite food choice is Taco Bell.And the pastime he savors the most is being outdoors.Meeks works at Brandt's Hardware in Ponca City.After NHS, he plans to attend Northern Oklahoma College with a desire to eventually become a radiologist.In baseball, he has established some goals for his final season at NHS."I want to make the State playoffs more than anything," Meeks declared."At the first of the year, I just wanted to help the team out and start, and I still want to help the team out now."And his hopes for the Tigers for the rest of the season remain high.Meeks proclaimed, "I want to help the team make that next level and better ourselves.I just want to keep winning."Meeks is one of six seniors on the NHS baseball team along with Chris Aupperle, Tyler Leaming, Daniel Merz, Chase Turner, and Kris Wooters.Divulging his role, Meeks explained, "I just try to keep the team going when everybody else is down.I just try to be a leader."He divulged that the expectations of serving in a leadership capacity are complicated at times but know the importance to the team.Meeks expressed, "Since we have a lot of freshmen, we have to show them what has to be done.Commenting on his strengths as an athlete, Meeks assessed, "Probably just like leading by example and working hard no matter what."Meeks detailed, "I like the way he hits the ball and that he's confident all the time.That's how I try to be."Meeks is in the midst of a strong season as a hitter.Through the 20-game regular season, he sports a .373 batting average and .588 slugging percentage."I just try to hit the ball at least once a game," Meeks noted."And if I hit it once, I just want to hit it again."He blasted the ball during the recent Barnsdall Tournament, twice sending shots over the fence."That was exciting," Meeks forwarded."I hit my first home run ever, then I had another one (three days later).I was just like, 'Wow!' "Meeks came to the Newkirk school system his freshman year from Ponca City Lutheran School.He's glad he did, asserting, "I love Newkirk because you know everybody, and it's fun."And he relishes the opportunity to play the sport he loves at NHS.Depicting the appeal of life as a Tiger baseball player, Meeks issued, "The coaches care about you, and all of your teammates, you actually know them in school, so it makes the team even closer.I like everything about Tiger baseball."For his best sports experience, Meeks pointed to the home runs he hit in the Barnsdall Tournament to help the Tigers triumph over Pawnee by an 8-5 margin and conquer Pawhuska by a 19-7 bulge.Elaborating on the memorable moments, Meeks underscored, "It was my first home run, and it just happened to be my senior year, too.Then the second one just added to it even more."He is encouraged by the Tigers' 13-7 record so far.Meeks remarked, "I'd like to be (undefeated), but this is the best year we've had as a team, I think, the whole time I've been playing.I didn't expect the season to happen, but we've been working hard at it and just playing good baseball."He pointed to the team's offensive abilities as the biggest factor.As a team, the Tigers are hitting .315.Meeks hopes to continue the prosperity when he and his teammates host Tonkawa for a best-of-three District Tournament series beginning at 4:00pm on Thursday, April 24.The two foes will stage two games that night, and if necessary, a third game will be played on Friday, April 25 at 4:00pm."We just need to play our game," Meeks emphasized."I feel like the games we lose, we don't play Tiger baseball like we did at Barnsdall against Pawhuska (19-7 win) or Pawnee (8-5 win).If we play that game, I think we can run with anybody."Meeks is trying to make his senior year at NHS stand out in baseball and beyond.He declared his intentions, finishing, "I just want to keep working hard and don't quit, no matter what, and never settle."