By Eric Wade
Nevada Daily Mail
Nevada Lady Tigers senior softball pitcher Christian Novak has earned an honor that many players can simply dream of, but it comes as no surprise to many who know her.
For the third consecutive year, Novak has been selected as a member of the Missouri Class 3 All-State softball roster. Novak made this year's second team with three other pitchers -- Mollie Carter, Festus; Michaela Forck, Blair Oaks; and Holly Magre, St. Pius X.
"Getting selected is a great honor and very few are selected three times. As far as being second team, it is somewhat disappointing after two straight first (team selections) and the fact that this was her best stat year," Novak's father, Jim, said. "Also, I think the committee doesn't take into account just how tough a schedule we play compared to other Class 3 teams."
The first team pitching staff included Baylee Douglass, Centralia; Brooklynne Simbeck, Grain Valley; Mackenzie Hoelting, Winfield; Scotlin Hurley; Trenton; and Taylor Phillips, Southern Boone County.
Novak finished the 2012 season with a record of 17-8 and a 0.75 ERA. She allowed 93 hits, 31 walks, 52 runs -- 18 earned -- and five home runs while striking out 236 hitters and pitching two no-hitters.
She pitched seven shutouts and hit five batters on the year. That strong season came to an end with a 6-3 defeat at the hands of eventual Class 3 runner-up Grain Valley in the Sectional round.
As a hitter, Novak finished the 2012 campaign with a .488 batting average with 39 hits, 22 RBIs, two strikeouts, three walks and the only home run of her career. She finished with a career batting average of .440 with 44 hits over seasons on the varsity squad.
This year's All-State selection was the third of Novak's career and with it, she became just the second athlete in Nevada High School history to earn two first-team and one second-team All-State selection, joining Nevada Tigers head baseball coach Danny Penn. Last year, she earned a spot on the first team when the Lady Tigers made it to the state quarterfinals where they lost to Sullivan and was a first-teamer in 2010 as well, when the Lady Tigers cruised to a 23-5 record and the only State Championship in program history.
As they did this season, the Lady Tigers had to rely heavily on Novak's superior pitching skills throughout their run to the 2010 Class 3 State Championship, beating more than one heavily favored team in the playoffs. On that list was what many considered the best team in the state at the time and the odds on favorite to win it all that year in the Lady Bulldogs of Cape Girardeau's Notre Dame High School.
Novak's high school career came to an end with three consecutive district championships and that one state title, as well as single-season and career records in a combined total of 16 statistical categories. Her career records include 96 appearances in a game, 67 wins, 565 1-3 innings pitched, 8,461 pitches thrown, a 0.88 ERA, 804 strikeouts, 10 no-hitters and 34 shutouts. Her single-season records include this year's 234 strikeouts and 0.75 ERA, along with the 27 games she appeared in, 21 games she won and 2,534 pitches she threw last year, as well as her five no-hitters and 13 shutouts in 2010.
Those staggering numbers have pegged Novak as one of the best players in program history and will likely make hers a tough pair of shoes to fill. And though her high school playing days may be over, her softball career as a whole is far from it.
In a move that will be made official a week from today, Novak has committed to play college softball at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. The Wildcats finished the 2012 spring season with a record of 21-32 and will ink Novak's name to their roster in a signing ceremony on Nov. 14, in the Nevada High School library.