America's Newspapers
Paper: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Title: BUTLER HAS PLENTY OF POP AT CATCHER - Platooning position `blessing' for Aviators
Date: April 5, 2001

VANDALIA - And to think they thought with the loss of Adam Cox that catcher might be their weak link.

Cox was an all-area catcher for Vandalia Butler High School's baseball team last season. This year, he's playing for Youngstown State. And Butler's backstop prospects have never looked better.

That's because of Josh Stewart and Brian Snell, who both alternate at catcher.

Through Monday, Stewart was batting .667 (10 of 15), while Snell was at .500 (5 of 10).

Stewart has the more potent power numbers: three triples, five RBI and has scored 8 runs. Both have cannons and the word has obviously spread. No one has attempted to steal on either. "It's a huge blessing having two catchers like this," Butler coach Trent Dues said. "They both do a great job behind the plate. Receiving, blocking and throwing. I think they're both team players, they're getting their at-bats and they both respect each other.

"I'm just trying to be fair to both of them. We're splitting time. One guy catches and the next day he'll play another position."

When Snell isn't catching, the senior plays third base. Stewart, a junior, plays center field when he's not behind the plate. Snell is also a closer and has pitched four scoreless innings.

Stewart had never played the outfield before this season. He said Dues approached him during tryouts about playing center.

"We were running and he told me I was pretty fast and we don't have a center fielder," Stewart said. "It's different. I just take a lot of fly balls. I feel comfortable."

Snell views the platooning as a blessing.

"It's saving my knee," he said. "It helps me stay healthy the whole season."

Neither played the position much last season. But during the summer, Snell went to a tournament in Memphis and got in some reps. Stewart, meanwhile, batted a team-high .525 for the Troy American Legion team.

"(Stewart) works hard and he keeps improving," said Brown, Stewart's Legion coach.

As does Snell. So who's the best? No one's saying, at least not Snell or Stewart. Neither wants to rock the boat. "We always throw with each other before the game," Stewart said. "There's no problems. We're good friends. We like sharing the catcher's spot."

* Contact Dave Lance at 225-7492 or e-maildave_lance@coxohio.com

Copyright, 2001, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

Author: Dave Lance Dayton Daily News
Section: SPORTS
Page: 3D
Copyright, 2001, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.