Sumiton Christian returned to its spot as a state title contender on the baseball diamond in 2018 — and Joe Hicks was at the heart of the revival for coach Lance Blair’s Eagles.The junior first …
Sumiton Christian returned to its spot as a state title contender on the baseball diamond in 2018 — and Joe Hicks was at the heart of the revival for coach Lance Blair’s Eagles.
The junior first baseman and pitcher was both Sumiton Christian’s top hitter as well as the ace on the mound.
“He can change a game in a moment’s notice with the stick,” Blair said of Hicks. “He has always been fundamentally sound, but now he’s more athletic. That’s been the game changer. He’s grown 4 or 5 inches and really worked on his agility and strength.”
Hicks hit .423 with a .521 on-base percentage in his junior season with 41 hits, 32 runs, 34 RBIs, 13 doubles, one triple, one home run and eight stolen bases.
On the mound, he was 5-4 with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. In 56 innings, he allowed 25 hits and 40 walks while striking out 108.
Hicks is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s Baseball Player of the Year.
“He’s relentless when it comes to work ethic — that’s what sets him apart,” Blair added.
In the playoffs, Hicks was at his best. In six games, he was 7 of 18 with two doubles, a grand slam, seven runs and seven RBIs at the plate. He was 2-1 on the mound, striking out 31 batters in 16 2/3 innings while allowing seven hits and 11 walks. His playoff ERA was 1.68 with a 1.08 WHIP.
Against Isabella in the opening round, Hicks tossed a complete-game one-hitter, striking out 17 Mustangs. In the second round against Victory Christian, Hicks was at it again, striking out 10 while allowing four hits in seven innings. Millry finally got to Hicks in the third round, scoring four runs in 2 2/3 innings.
“I would say through the first two rounds of playoffs he basically was unhittable in both of those games,” Blair said.
Hicks also had one of the few highlights in the quarterfinals vs. Millry, belting a grand slam, in a 9-5 loss.
“He’s not just a good player, he’s a good person too. He’s really active in the community with special needs kids. He has a heart for that. Joe has been a part of so many different things, the ballet in Birmingham and the Night to Shine. I think he’s a complete person,” Blair said.
2018 Baseball Eagle Elite
Player of Year
Batting: .423 average, .521 OBP, 32 runs, 34 RBIs, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 8 SBs
Pitching: 5-4 record, 2.75 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 108 Ks in 56 innings
Pitcher of Year
Pitching: 7-5 record, 1.04 ERA, 0.80 WHIP,
87 Ks in 67.3 innings
Coach of Year
Class 1A quarterfinals
Eagle Elite First Team
C.J. Hall - Oakman
Chase Cross - Jasper
Slade Harbin - Jasper
Joe Hicks - SC
Cam Robinson - Jasper
Austin Ivie - Carbon Hill
JonDawson Tittle - Oakman
Zac Durham - Jasper
Dylan Norris - Oakman
Peyton Alexander - SC
Kaden Shelton - Jasper
Andrew Tubbs - SC
Luke McDonald - SC
Caleb Dunagan - Curry
Eagle Elite Second Team
Isaiah Wright - SC
Stewart Waldrop - Meek
Colby Drummond - Corner
Parker Anderson - Curry
Tanner Earnest - Dora
Jarrett McLain - SC
Noah Roberts - Dora
Zac Bozeman - Cordova
Landon Bice - Carbon Hill
Jon Avery - Oakman
Will Herring - Jasper
Jaymon Parker - Dora
Eagle Elite Honorable Mention
Addison — Bryant Ridgeway and Hayden Lee
Carbon Hill — Zach Phillips
Cordova — Noah Samples
Corner — Cooper Norris and Brayden Rowe
Curry — Tanner Rowe, Luke Smith and Cody Dunagan
Dora — Tyler Goodwin, Tanner Earnest and Boone Martin
Meek — Luke Sherer
Oakman — Sawyer Thompson and Cristian Lopez
Winston County — Ethan Moore