Cards taking flight

Scott County High School 2019 baseball seniors, form left, Preston Rankin, Trent Fox, Jordan Fox and Trace Willhoite, share a light moment at a game this past spring. All four will play in college along with Kyle Harbison from their class.

Trent Fox took his time finalizing his plans for playing baseball at the next level beyond Scott County High School. 

One month after graduation, in fact, and quietly, which is a far cry from the modern-day trend of committing, de-committing, and posting every step of the process on social media.

The payoff for that patience is an opportunity to take the field for a program with a proven track record of sending players much higher up the college and professional ladder.

Fox, a shortstop and relief pitcher at SCHS, has signed with Olney (Illinois) Central College of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Olney, which is located about four hours northwest of Georgetown, has been a consistent cradle of talent on the diamond for nearly four decades.

The Blue Knights have seen 131 former players eventually sign with Division I schools since 1983 and have sent 45 into the professional ranks.

Two made it all the way to the majors. Clint Barmes, an outfielder, spent a combined 13 seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres, hitting a total of 89 home runs. Jerad Eickhoff, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, has 21 wins since his call-up in 2015.

Fox is the fifth player from Scott County’s 2019 class to sign with a college program.

His twin brother, Jordan Fox, committed early in his career and will pitch for Eastern Kentucky University.

First baseman and outfielder Trace Willhoite is headed to the University of Louisville, which was a final four team at the College World Series last week.

Kyle Harbison, a three-year starting catcher, also will play Division I baseball at Indiana State University. 

Preston Rankin, the Cardinals’ center fielder, signed with Georgetown College.

The sixth and final member of the SC senior delegation, pitcher Brett Blair, is enrolled in the honors program at Morehead State University on a full academic scholarship.

Trent Fox was a defensive anchor in the middle infield during a stretch in which Scott County won three consecutive 42nd District titles from 2016 to 2018 and back-to-back 11th Region championships in ’16 and ’17.

And while other bats in the lineup drew more headlines, Fox’s numbers over the years were solid and remarkably consistent.

He batted .240 as a senior, but that number spiked 50 points after coach Scott Willard’s gamble to move him from ninth to leadoff in the Cards’ batting order. Fox had 23 hits, scored 25 runs and knocked in 16. Eight of his hits went for extra bases, including six doubles and a home run.

Fox had three of Scott County’s five hits in a 1-0 loss at Madison Central, a region quarterfinal that took two days to complete. 

As the team’s closer out of the bullpen, Fox registered a career-high four saves.

His junior-year average of ,284 included 23 RBI, 23 runs scored and 25 hits. He also drew 18 walks, boosting his on-base percentage to .413. Fox batted .264 with 24 hits, 26 runs and 12 RBI as a sophomore.

Scott County’s senior class accumulated an overall record of 114 wins, 38 losses and one tie. This year’s 23-12 mark included a win over eventual state champion Tates Creek.

Olney went 35-17 this past spring.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

Recommended for you