Fox proven to be a valuable utility player for the RedHawks
FARGO—Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks infielder Derrick Fox has won a championship at nearly every level he's played at and can play nearly every position.
Fox is trying to win another title with the RedHawks this summer with his versatility.
"I like the town, I like the baseball situation as far as what's going on now," Fox said. "Our manager, (Michael) Schlact, is real cool, laid back, good baseball guy. He knows how to talk to players and motivate us in a positive way."
The RedHawks faced the Chicago Dogs on Wednesday night in the series finale at Newman Outdoor Field. Chicago had a six-run lead one point, but the RedHawks' rally came up short as Chicago held on to win 9-8 in American Association baseball before 3,401 fans.
Keury De La Cruz hit a pair of home runs with three RBIs to lead the RedHawks, who dropped to 42-33 overall.
Fox was 2-for-4 with a run scored against Chicago. He has helped lift the RedHawks to contending position, as they are in second place in the North Division. F-M is 1.5 games behind Gary SouthShore.
Schlact said along with his defensive versatility, Fox boosts team morale with his presence.
"He brings a joy to the team," Schlact said. "He's always happy, always in a good mood. ... He's somebody that every team wishes they had. He's a true ballplayer and when you start talking about the value of a true utility player, it can't be overstated."
Fox's career began in 2012 in the Pecos League where he was an impactful player with the Alpine Cowboys (Texas). He helped the Cowboys to a championship. In 2015, he had a .435 batting average with seven home runs and 65 RBIs in 67 games.
In 2016, he played for the Sonoma Stompers (California) in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball.
Last year, a friend put him in contact with former RedHawks manager Doug Simunic, and he played 35 games with F-M. He then had a 30-game stint with Sonoma before returning to the RedHawks this season.
Fox, who is listed as an infielder, has bought into his primary role as a utility player.
"Whenever my number is called, I come in off the bench. ... I'm always ready to play any position," Fox said. "First base, second base, outfield, wherever I can play. That's my role with the team."
The series with the Dogs featured a trio of ejections, one of which got national attention. On Monday, RedHawks outfielder Brennan Metzger was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Jarboe for arguing a called third strike. After being thrown out, he proceeded to grab a garbage can from the dugout and put it behind home plate.
The clip of Metzger's tirade was picked up by national outlets like ESPN, Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James even left a comment on ESPN SportsCenter's Instagram post of the clip.
On Tuesday night, Chicago Dogs manager Butch Hobson was infuriated over a close play at third base. After he was ejected by Jarboe, he picked up third base and handed it to a young fan on his way out.
On Wednesday night, Leo Pina was ejected for arguing a called third strike.
"Baseball has its times where it gets weird," Schlact said. "When you look at the human element of the game, that's the beauty of baseball. ... At the end of the day, we have a great group of guys that love the game, respect the game and want to play it hard every single day."
The RedHawks next travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., to kick off a nine-game road trip. Fox said it was a big milestone making it to the American Association. He wants his championship roll to continue.
"I want to win a championship, go out as a winner, go out saying I won my last game and saying I did it for this town and for this team," Fox said.