Gina Fausone is in her fourth season as a catcher for the Bullard High softball team, and it's starting to shape up as the best year she's been a part of. Over the past two weeks, Fausone has helped the Knights reach the Clovis Easter Classic final, win the Best of the West tournament in Santa Maria and take the early lead in the County/Metro Athletic Conference at 2-0 heading into today's game against Hoover.
How did you end up wearing the tools of ignorance?
I started out as a pitcher, then I wasn't too good at that. But I like being the general of the field. And of course, putting on the catcher's gear when I was little was pretty cool.
What's it like getting to catch for your younger sister, Angela?
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It's very different. Me and my sister have a different relationship. We think the same on most levels, but there's also the part where we get mad at each other because she doesn't throw the pitch right or I don't throw it back right.
Does she ever shake you off?
No. Usually, we're on the same page. She trusts me because I'm older.
I understand you call your own game. What's it like to be entrusted with that responsibility?
It was very hard when I was a freshman to think about calling my own game and what pitches to throw. I was taught by [former Bullard catcher] Michelle Williams and [former Bullard pitcher] Ryane Petersen. They helped me do patterns, in and out, up and down, speeds. I just kind of feel it in my head now which pitch to call.
After getting to the final of the Clovis Easter Classic and having it rained out, what did it mean to you to come back and win the Best of the West tournament?
Bullard was considered an underdog. After coming in co-champs with Clovis (at the Easter Classic) and then winning the tournament in Santa Maria, which we hadn't done in my four years, was exciting.
Following a slow start, Bullard has won 10 of its past 11 games. Why the turnaround?
We've found it in ourselves. Knowing people underestimate us makes us play better as a team.
What can this team accomplish this season?
I think this team is going to get to Valley. I think we can do it.
What are your personal goals?
To keep my team motivated and be a leader on the field. Just keep doing my part in each game.
What do you get more satisfaction from, getting a big hit or making a big defensive play?
I always love throwing a person out at second base. I just know I can get a person out there, but a big hit at a moment of need is also really exciting.
What are your plans for next year?
I am going to Fresno State, but not playing softball anymore. I'm a little burned out and my knees are not doing so well, so I am doing to major in interior design.
What do you want to do with an interior design degree?
I want to own my own interior design business and do movie sets.