Gladstone High School graduate Ben Fox lands a $60,000 scholarship to play baseball at Concordia University 

A passion for and dedication to the sport he loves has gained recent Gladstone High School graduate Ben Fox a four-year athletic scholarship to Concordia University valued at $15,000 a year.

Fox has signed on as an outfielder on Concordia’s baseball team. Concordia has competed at the NAIA level in the past, but the Cavaliers will move up to NCAA DII and compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference next spring, with teams from University of Alaska — Fairbanks, University of Alaska — Anchorage, Central Washington, Montana State — Billings, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martins, Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon and Western Washington.JOHN LARIVIERE - Ben Fox, pictured here in a 2015 Tri-Valley Conference game with Madras, hit up a storm in 2015. The talented outfielder led the Gladiators with a .488 batting average, as they had one of their most successful seasons in school history.

Fox said he received interest from Western Oregon, St. Martins and the University of Portland.

“I really like the environment and what they are like as people,” Fox said of his decision to sign with Concordia.

Concordia has experienced recent success at the NAIA level. The Cavaliers went 32-23 this spring and finished second to British Columbia at the NAIA West Tournament. The 32 wins was the second most in school history.

A .488 batting average

and 24 stolen bases

Fox put up some impressive numbers at Gladstone High School. Playing centerfield and batting at the top of the lineup, Fox this season led the Gladiators with a .488 batting average and 41 runs scored. He had 23 RBI, four triples and 10 doubles, and 24 stolen bases — out of 27 stolen base attempts.

The Gladiators had one of their most successful seasons in school history, going undefeated in league for what is thought to be the first time and advancing as far as the state semifinals for only the third time.

Fox’s success at the plate is no accident. He practices his sport the year around.

“My dad and I go out to the field and hit baseballs all the time,” said Fox. “Sometimes we hit as many as 1,000 balls. It doesn’t matter the time of year. The heat of the summer, or the cold of the winter, we practice, practice, practice.”

Fox said it takes mental toughness as well as physical training to become a good hitter.

“You have to be confident about yourself and you need a lot of practice,” he said. “The pitches come in there pretty fast, so you’ve got to train your mind to make decisions quickly.”

Fox says he loves playing centerfield, although he didn’t become an outfielder until his freshman year at Gladstone. In youth baseball, he caught, pitched and was a middle infielder.

“I love the outfield,” he said. “I like the pressure. You see that ball get ripped in the gap, and you have to make the decision whether to go all out and try to make the great play or not. Everyone’s depending on you....”

Fox’s talent

brings honors

Coaches in the Tri-Valley Conference and around the state have recognized Fox’s talent. Coaches in the Tri-Valley Conference named him their 2015 Player of the Year. He received first-team all-state recognition as an outfielder and he was selected to play in the 2015 4A Allstar Series.

Fox was in Roseburg the weekend of June 13-14, playing in the 4A Allstar Series with high school teammates Trask Telesmanich (pitcher/infield), Austin Krieger (pitcher/first base) and Branden Loehr (catcher).

Fox was named the North Player of the Game for the series. He excelled on both sides of the ball, making tough chances look routine with his standout play on defense; and he came up with four hits and two RBI in the June 14 doubleheader — a double, a triple and two singles.

‘He just goes out

and plays hard’

Gladstone coach Casey Webster says of Fox: “What makes him such a good baseball player is his demeanor. You don’t know if he’s 4-for-4 or 0-for-4. He just goes out and plays hard. When you can handle the adversity of the game the way he does and have the talent he has, that talent is going to shine....

“He can hit; he can run — he’s got speed; he’s got an above average throwing arm; he’s a complete player.”

Fox said he plans to play baseball with Concordia’s Northwest Stars summer team this summer.

He said he is as yet undecided about his major at Concordia, but he would like to work in law enforcement after he graduates.