In case his future as a major in wildlife and fisheries doesn't pan out, Justin Fox may want to seek a career in marketing.
The Magnolia High School graduate is a freshman on the West Virginia University baseball team. Listed on the roster as a second baseman, Fox is wearing many hats for the Mountaineers in an attempt to not only prove his versatility but also promote his wares to the coaching staff.
In addition to fielding grounders in practice at his natural position at third base, Fox has also worked out at shortstop. Now add catcher to his list of duties.
"I've never done it in my life," Fox said. "Catching at the Division I level is pretty tough, but I am getting the hang of it. Buddies on the team have helped me with technique.
"The way I look at it, the more positions I learn the more opportunities I get to play."
WVU opened the regular season last weekend in Florida. On the same morning the team flew out of Pittsburgh, Fox became somewhat emotional having realized his dream of playing Division I baseball had come true.
"It really hit me when I was packing my bag and getting ready to go on the bus to the airport," Fox said.
In a three-day span, WVU recorded consecutive wins over Northwestern (7-3), Penn State (4-1) and Iowa (4-3), before suffering their first loss to Michigan 14-3.
Fox did not get his name in the boxscore for the first two games, but received a start at second base against Iowa.
"I was a little nervous at first - there was some anxiety, but I was ready to play and get in there," Fox said. "I think I handled myself pretty well.
"To get that third win was awesome - the team was fired up. Our pitching staff pitched real well. In that fourth game, I think we started to wear down because we had a game before that."
Against the Wolverines, Fox was a middle-inning substitution and recorded his first collegiate hit with a two-out infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
There was no fanfare. And no pause in the game for saving the game ball. Fox just went about his business trying to help his Mountaineers win in the same manner he did for the Blue Eagles of Magnolia where he was elected first-team captain of the Class AA all-state squad after hitting .625 during his senior year.
Fox also excelled on the gridiron and was the recipient of the 2010 Harrison H. Kennedy Award after leading Magnolia to a state championship.
Baseball, though, was his first choice in terms of college athletics.
"Really, WVU is the only place I could go and feel comfortable," Fox said. "I'm just going to go out and give 100 percent every day and see if I can help the team win."
The season for WVU resumes today through Sunday for the Caravelle's Resort Baseball at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with games scheduled against Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and George Mason. The Mountaineers won't make their home debut until March 6 in a doubleheader versus Niagara.
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org