America's Newspapers
Paper: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Date: May 26, 2000

VANDALIA - If pressed, Vandalia Butler High school catcher Adam Cox will talk about his offensive statistics. But they leave his voice flat.

The Aviators senior ranks among the area leaders in home runs with 10 and is hitting .459 with 25 RBIs. Cox sets the pace on a baseball team that has clouted a school-record 44 homers. But ask him about his marksmanship when opposing baserunners attempt to steal second and Cox shows more enthusiasm.

Cox has thrown out 13 of 17 runners for an impressive 77 percent. He is the foundation of the team's sound defense.

Recently, he picked off a runner at first base in the first inning in the district championship against Hamilton Badin and it set the tone for the game.

"I probably get more of a thrill when I pick off a runner than when I hit a home run," Cox said. "You want opponents to respect your arm."

The Cox-led Aviators have won a school-record 26 games. They will play Loveland (19-8) in the Division II regional semifinals at Piqua's Hardman Field at 2 p.m. today. Cox excels in three sports at Butler (soccer, wrestling and baseball) and carries a 3.7 grade-point average. He said the footwork from soccer and wrestling carries over to the catcher's box.

"Wrestling a six-minute match is tougher than catching," said the 6-foot, 175-pound Cox. "I have a similar mindset in both sports. I like contact. They are both physically demanding."

With eight stolen bases, Cox definitely breaks the mold of the slow-footed backstop. He rifles the ball to second base in 1.9 seconds and keeps thievery to a minimum.

"When you list catcher's responsibilities, you want somebody who calls a good game, blocks pitches, handles pitchers and throws out runners," said coach Trent Dues. "You want a tough cookie like Adam. If he can hit, that's just icing on the cake."

Cox, who bats sixth in the high-octane lineup (.393 team batting average), said he isn't thinking long ball at the plate.

"I just try to use the whole field, stay on the ball and make contact," Cox said. "I've been in a good rhythm at the plate this season, rocking back and forth."

He works well with the pitching staff of Tom Hertlein, Curtis Hawse and Santel Grant. They all throw differently - lively fastballs, wicked curves and submarine pitches.

"Adam will block a pitch with his facemask if he has to," Hertlein said. "He's a great receiver and I have complete confidence in him. He saves a lot of wild pitches."

Dues gains a peace of mind from the presence of Cox behind the plate. He said the masked man speaks softly and carries a big stick (33-inch, 28-ounce Easton C-500 aluminum bat).

Strangely, the power-hitting catcher hasn't drawn much attention from colleges.

"It's a shame he hasn't had any offers yet," Dues said. "I feel like he's the best all-around catcher in the area. The longer we stay in the tournament, the more exposure he'll get."

* Contact Ron Jackson at (513) 743-5308 or e-mail

Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

Author: Ron Jackson Dayton Daily News
Section: SPORTS
Page: 4D
Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.