BUENA VISTA, Va.—Playing in his first summer of professional baseball, former Southern Virginia University scholar-athlete Tyler Cox helped the Santa Fe Fuego to a Pecos League championship and Northern Division title.
Playing primarily as a catcher with some time put in as a first baseman and pinch hitter, the Forest, Mississippi, native played in 37 games, earning one homerun, 15 RBI, nine runs and 17 hits with 65 at bats. Logging two doubles for the summer, he also assisted the team with two stolen bases and a .262 hitting average.
"It was a dream come true to play professional baseball and I learned a lot from the experience," he said. "I'd like to thank the Fuego organization and general manager Bill Moore for giving me the opportunity to play. I felt like I was an important part of the team and it was a pleasure to play alongside some great gentlemen."
Cox earned the trust of the Fuego coaching staff and has an offer to continue playing for the club next summer.
"I tried to be a good teammate by being positive and supportive," he said. "It wasn't important to me to be playing games – I only cared about helping the team win."
He believes the experience will help him as a coach for Southern Virginia as he returns for a second year as an assistant to head coach Logan Mann.
"You get there and they humble you a bit," he said. "You show up and think you're the best player ever. Then you realize it's professional baseball and there's some talent. I saw a different side of the game that will help me both as a coach and as a player and I'm excited to help Southern Virginia with some of the things I learned."
The season ended last Friday with the Fuego defeating the Alpine Cowboys (Alpine, Texas), 7-3, in the championship series finale.