The act perfectly captured Josh Adams, his knee and his boundless spirit.
The Pleasant Grove High School pitcher and slugger eyed the chest-high railing outside his team's dugout Monday afternoon and cleared it. It was a flat-footed hop in uniform and cleats, and with a bulky brace that protects a once-injured knee. The acrobatic leap proved the joint is certifiably sound now, allowing the 6-foot-3, muscled Adams to land softly, like a cat onto a ledge.
"He's a cheetah," Eagles coach Rob Rinaldi marveled, not knowing if he should scold the senior or embrace him. "I don't know what to do with him."
What the veteran coach has done is unleash his draft prospect, who has signed a letter of intent with UC Santa Barbara. The leap was symbolic, one that could have represented a jump for joy for Adams.
Thirty months after shredding his ACL in a football game and a limited junior baseball season to protect it, Adams has flourished in unrestricted action. He leads the Eagles into the next round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs Thursday at Sacramento City College with a 4 p.m. game against Vacaville.
"It feels great to be all the way back," Adams said. "(Chicago Bulls star) Derrick Rose isn't ready up here (pointing to his head), and that's why he isn't playing. I know I'm 100 percent, and I feel it."
He's showing it, too. The Pleasant Grove ace overcame a slow start at the plate to provide a powerful swing. The left-hander beat Jesuit 2-0 early last week on the mound and helped beat the Marauders days later with two solo home runs in a 10-4 victory, using a wood bat to inch his average back toward .300.
In a playoff opener Monday, Adams tossed a complete-game two-hitter to defeat Rocklin 2-1 to improve his record to 6-2. He jumped that railing 20 minutes later. And shortly after that feat, Rinaldi instructed Adams to take the American flag down behind center field and store it, preferably by climbing over the fence and not hurdling it.
"I sent a teammate with him in case he couldn't figure it out," Rinaldi joked with Adams within earshot. "I'm just thrilled for Josh. It hasn't been easy. He's been through the wars."
Adams tore his ACL in the football season opener in 2010 during a special-teams return. While the injury hurt, it pained Adams even more to have to watch his teammates compete without him.
His father, Marvin, could relate. The elder Adams endured a rash of injuries as a defensive end with Washington State in the 1980s, including cartilage damage in his knee.
Josh Adams elected not to play football last fall, instead focusing on baseball. Adams last season didn't pitch or play the outfield as a precaution, resigned to the role of designated hitter.
Rinaldi practically had to duct tape the competitive Adams to the bench last season to keep him from taking the outfield. In their time together, Rinaldi and Adams have butted heads, but there's still a lot of mutual adoration.
"I push the limit sometimes," Adams said, laughing, adding he gets some of that bold behavior from his mother, Sherri Adams, a deputy district attorney. "I love my coach. I couldn't play for a better coach. He's been great for me. I'm always loosey-goosey, but I know when to turn the switch."
Said Rinaldi, "We've had our moments, but I love the kid. The rest of the guys on our team are shy, the nicest kids. Josh has some character and swagger to him, and you need that."
Rinaldi has instructed Adams to bunt, swing freely at pitches, steal bases, start games on the mound and relieve, adding, "Josh can do it all. We're fortunate for modern medicine and the recovery."
Jesuit coach Joe Potulny is a believer.
"In our day, you're done with that kind of knee injury," Potulny said. "Adams is clearly the best talent, the best athlete in our league, by far. He's a one-man wrecking crew."