SIKESTON -- After a summer spent playing on the Missouri Bulls 13U team, Sikeston native Sam Cox has once again earned a spot on the USA Midwest regional baseball team and a shot at making the National squad.
Cox found himself in a similar position last year when he played his way onto the Midwest team for 12 and 13 year olds. Though he didn't make it on the National squad following the tryout, Cox will have the advantage of another year of experience under his belt at this year's event.
In his time with the Bulls this summer Cox put up impressive offense numbers that included a .517 batting-average and .609 on-base percentage playing both the outfield and infield. In 89 at-bats Cox scored 43 runs while hitting 11 home runs, 11 doubles and five triple with a 1.124 slugging percentage.
"Sam is a joy to coach," Bulls' coach Tim Rodgers said. "He is such a good athlete with great speed and a strong arm. He hits the ball with a lot of power to all fields and Sam is one of the most coachable kids I have ever been around.
"He put up big numbers this summer and we play from Memphis to St. Louis against the top competition in our age group so he did it against legit teams."
Following his time with the Bulls, Cox tried out and made the local USA baseball team that included members of Southeast Missouri and Arkansas.
That team went to St. Charles to compete against other teams from Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas and games and a pro style workout.
In the showcase Cox put up some of the top numbers in the 14u age group, including an event best 6.7 seconds in the 60-yard dash. As a result of his efforts in St. Charles, Cox earned one of only 16 spots on the USA Midwest regional team that 90 kids competed for.
Cox and the rest of the Midwest team will now compete with other regional teams in the National Team Identification Series in September. Besides playing games, those players will also go through drills for a chance to be selected to the US National 14u team that will play next summer.
The National Team Identification Series is scheduled for September 6-9 in Cary, North Carolina at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
If Cox can make the National squad, he'll play around the country and other countries next summer with some of the best players in the country in the 14u division.
"Sam has played 2 years for the Bulls and is one of the most talented kids in the program," said Glenn Campbell, founder of the Bulls organization. "He has tremendous upside. We wish him well in North Carolina."
When Cox joins the Midwest squad he'll have company as Bull's teammate and Scott City native Braden Cox will also be pursuing a spot on the National team.
With the Bulls, Braden Cox batted .479 with a .622 on-base percentage and collected 11 doubles. On the mound he posted a 9-0 record with a 2.33 earned-run-average. He struck out 55 batters in 48 innings pitched.