Worth County baseball player Ryan Hickox, front row, center, smiles after signing with Thomas University on Monday. He was joined by, front, from left, brother Michael Hickox, father Jeff Hickox, mother Marsha Hickox and brother Cody Hickox; back, coach Chase Giddens, head coach Will Smith and coach Daniel Henley.
SYLVESTER — Ryan Hickox is taking his glove, his bat and his collar to Thomas University.
At least that’s the way Worth County baseball coach Will Smith sees it. He was on hand Monday night when Hickox signed with Thomas University at Worth County High.
“Ryan is the epitome of the blue-collar baseball player,’’ Smith said. “He’s one of those kids who works his tail off and says, ‘I’m going to make myself into the best player I can be.’ He’s done that, and he has yet to tap all that is there, because he is going to grow, and as he grows and fills out he will be even better.’’
Hickox was one of the mainstays on the mound for Worth County, going 4-4 with an impressive 2.46 ERA, but he earned his scholarship at third base.
“He’s got a great glove,’’ Smith said. “And ultimately, that’s what earned him the scholarship and the opportunity to play in college. He’s got a strong arm and a great glove and soft hands. I think they see him as a second baseman and might move him from third to second because his footwork is so good around the bag to turn the double play, and his arm is strong enough to play any position in the infield.’’
Hickox, who hit .330 his senior year at Worth, had an offer from LaGrange College, and he said he had to wrestle with his decision.
But he couldn’t be happier by choosing Thomas.
“It’s an hour and a half away from home, and feels like a hometown to me,’’ Hickox said. “I really like it there, and it’s a chance to play college baseball.’’
That’s always been the plan.
“I guess I have been thinking about that since I first started playing baseball,’’ said Hickox, who went from a 5-year-old playing T-ball to a tough infielder and pitcher in high school. “By the time I was in high school, I made the choice to play baseball. I used to play football and baseball, but I broke my arm playing football my sophomore year and decided I would just stay with baseball.’’
The decision paid off Monday.
“Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it,’’ he said. “It’s something I’ve been working toward for a long time. I always felt the work would pay off, and it did.’’