High School Sports

A top-ranked softball team in great shape thanks to its do-it-all equipment manager

Texas Tech commit Kennedy Crites hits first career HR

Down 1-0, Eaton junior and Texas Tech commit Kennedy Crites tied the game vs Keller with a solo home run to right center, Monday March 11, 2019.
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Down 1-0, Eaton junior and Texas Tech commit Kennedy Crites tied the game vs Keller with a solo home run to right center, Monday March 11, 2019.

Eaton has quickly become one of the top softball programs in the state in only its third season at the UIL varsity level.

The Eagles reached the regional quarterfinals in 2017 and then the semifinal round last season.

Eaton has multiple players either signed or committed to play at Division I programs.

But as good as the Eagles are on the diamond, a big part of their success comes inside the dugout.

Senior Ezra Cox has been the equipment manager and bat boy for the softball team for the past four years. He’s also the equipment manager for the football, girls basketball and volleyball teams.

Eaton Ezra Cox is the football, volleyball and softball equipment manager. Courtesy

“He’s a valuable member of the program. He helps set up and take down practice equipment everyday,” said softball coach Lynn Rottman. “He helps set up the field for games. He’s an amazing young man who works hard and does everything we ask him to do.”

One day out of the blue, Rottman asked Cox if he’d join the team as a manager. He said yes and has since spread his expertise to football, volleyball and basketball.

“It has been a blessing to have Ezra as part of the softball program and I’m truly grateful for his service,” Rottman said.

Cox has a mild to moderate sensory neural hearing loss. He’s not completely deaf, but needs accommodations like hearing aids.

He passed his hearing test at birth, but had pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung.

At age 2, his parents took him for an Auditory Brainstem Response test.

“That whole time I wasn’t talking at all. My parents were very confused on how I wasn’t speaking or hearing them. We used sign language to communicate. Then my parents took me to the audiologist. I was about 4,” Cox said. “I had learned to read lips and passed the first test. She then covered her lips and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. The doctor and my parents discovered that I had a hearing loss.”

But that didn’t stop him from getting into sports when he arrived to Eaton.

“I really love supporting our athletic teams. I found that being the equipment manager, I can support the teams by making sure they’re provided proper equipment,” Cox said. “I love being the manager for all teams.”

Eaton senior Ezra Cox making a visit to Northwestern Oklahoma State. Courtesy

He’s been a great source of pride for Eaton’s softball team, which is 25-2 this season. The Eagles start the playoffs with a 3-game series against Hebron. Game 1 is 7 p.m. on Thursday at Hebron. They’ve gone 76-18-1 in their first three seasons.

“I love being on the softball team. These last four years have been amazing,” Cox said. “We’re all close and I’m their No. 1 fan. We all support each other. It’s like another family to me.”

“Ezra is the most amazing manager we could ask for,” sophomore outfielder Vivica Hernandez added. “He has always been there for us softball girls. Not only am I blessed for him being the most awesome manager, but being a great friend as well.”

Cox will head to Northwestern Oklahoma State and plans to become its football and softball equipment manager.

“Ezra brings undeniable support to this team and cheers for us at every game. He believes we can do anything and beat any team,” junior infielder and Texas Tech commit Kennedy Crites said. “He’s more than the equipment manager. He’s a friend to every player, coach and parent. He never misses a game or practice. He’s a true friend and will be greatly missed.”

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.