Nathan Hickey is a quiet guy, but his resume speaks loud.
The latest shout-out for the former Granbury Pirate is that he was named Class 4A All-State by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Hickey is a second-team shortstop.
“I had no idea I’d have a chance at all-state,” said the ever-humble Hickey.
But Hickey did receive the honor, his second as a shortstop since the season ended – a season in which he was also one of the top pitchers in the state.
In fact, it was as a pitcher that Hickey was recruited by Paris Junior College and for which he signed a letter-of-intent after receiving a scholarship.
Often in baseball, the top-tier high school players will opt to play at a junior college instead of a higher-level college program because after each JUCO season they can enter the Major League Baseball Draft. At the NCAA Division I level, for example, a player has to commit to stay at the school for three years.
“At the all-star game my roommate said ‘I heard of you as a pitcher. Why’d they pick you as a shortstop?’” said Hickey.
“That’s fine with me if they want to put me on the team and make me all-state at that position.”
Granbury coach Brad Eppler said Hickey was good enough to warrant all-state recognition at both positions. He also praised his star’s performance at the all-star game Round Rock.
“There’s not a weak link. They’re playing nine-inning games. Every fastball is 90 miles per hour, everybody can hit, and he was right there making plays, getting a hit, scoring a run,” said Eppler.
As a pitcher, Hickey set a team record this season with a 0.32 earned run average. He also became only the third pitcher in school history with 100 strikeouts in a season, accomplishing the feat in only 66.2 innings. He also walked just 21.
Hickey, 8-1 with a save, had a perfect game, two one-hitters, and a pair of two-hitters.
Hickey was MVP in District 7-4A. As a junior, he was the league’s pitcher of the year as he struck out 99.
Hickey’s statistics at shortstop were also extremely impressive.
He led the team in hitting with a .459 average, as well as having team-highs in hits (50), singles (39, a school record), and runs batted in (24). He was second in doubles (7), triples (4), and slugging percentage (.596), along with being third in on-base percentage (.478).
At the THSBCA All-Star Game Hickey was 1-for-2 batting and scored a run for the North Team as they lost to the South 5-2. He also handled several chances in the field without committing an error.
“Being named to the all-star game is typically the first step to being named all-state,” said Eppler. “Then he goes out and performs on that stage, and it makes it easy to put him on that team.”
Hickey he said he had a great time playing alongside others like himself who are considered the best in Texas.
“It was awesome. There were a bunch of big kids, and I showed up and I was small,” he said with a chuckle. “But I guess I did alright.
“It was fun being there, a lot more relaxed than during the season. I didn’t know anybody, but I made a couple of new friends.”
Hickey is spending some time this summer playing for Ronin Baseball out of Denton. He has upcoming trips with the team to tournaments in Memphis and Fort Myers, Fla. before leaving for Paris.
“I’m ready to get down there and start playing,” Hickey said of Paris. “I want to see what it’s like to play college baseball.”
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