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'NOT AFRAID': How growing up on a farm led to Fourkiller's strong season

Jun. 8—When he isn't leading the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in hitting, Tyson Fourkiller is at his family home in Stilwell.

During the summer, Fourkiller packs up his baseball cleats and batting gloves for boots and work gloves on his family farm.

With roosters crowing in the background, the Northeastern State University senior baseball player reflected on how growing up on a farm affected his play on the field.

"It helps you become not afraid to put in the long days, or the long practice," Fourkiller said. "The practices can get hot, being out there three or four hours back in junior college. [I'm] willing to do whatever it takes to see the garden or the seed grow; it's just putting the work in and seeing something come back from it."

That work ethic and lack of fear paved the way for a stellar first season with the RiverHawks for Fourkiller. NSU's second baseman led the MIAA with a .403 batting average.

After it was all said and done, Fourkiller was named to the All-MIAA First team, Rawlings All-Region team, Division II Conference Commissioners Association team and the National College Baseball Writers Association team. Even though Fourkiller added a lot of hardware this postseason, he knows the MIAA Player of the Year Award is still eluding him.

"It is a confidence booster," Fourkiller said. "I am satisfied, yes, but there is still more I want to do; there is still an award out there I want."

Though he didn't take to the diamond during the 2022-'23 season with Arkansas, Fourkiller continued his strong play from Connors State University to NSU. Fourkiller was also a rock in the NSU lineup, starting all 50 games at second base. With one year under his belt, Fourkiller feels like he can have another impact year for the RiverHawks.

"I am confident coming back," Fourkiller said. "Coming back into the conference, and knowing what to expect and knowing how everyone in the looks in the league, gives me a boost going into next year. I feel like I put in the work in that division to earn those awards. It took me a while to figure out the details matter. So I sweat the details of everything. Every little thing you do in the offseason matters when the regular season starts."

Going into the offseason, Fourkiller is looking to rehab a shoulder injury he nursed throughout most of the season.

"Right now, the biggest thing on my list is my shoulder," Fourkiller said. "I played through it in the spring, so I am getting it looked at right now. It is going to get healed up here soon. It is just another bump in the road and I am happy to get back to it."

Once Fourkiller figures his shoulder out, he is ready to start the grind of the season again. While he has big personal goals, he knows there are potentially big things ahead for next season's team. After winning 20 games last season, the RiverHawks and Fourkiller are hoping to make that jump into playoff contention.

"My biggest goal is to come in healthy with a clear mind," Fourkiller said. "We want to win the league as a team; that is the biggest goal. We want to make the playoffs and win the league this year. Personally, I want to stay healthy and just take it game by game. "

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