Rounding the Bases with John Hicks
It’s the dream of most baseball players – the walk-off home run. It had not happened at Virginia since 2007, but John Hicks changed that with his three-run walk-off home run in Virginia’s 5-3 win over North Carolina Sunday afternoon. Hicks is the focus of Rounding the Bases this week and talks about his celebratory jaunt around the bases as well as several other topics.
Walk us through the walk-off home run.
Hicks: They made a pitching change when I came up to the plate and Coach Mac told me to sit on a pitch – to look for a pitch and get what you want. I sat on the slider and he left it up and I was able to put a good swing on it. I thought it was going to be fair by a good ways at first but it started hooking left. I was watching as I was going around first and luckily it hit the pole.
Have you seen the replay of it?
Hicks: I’ve watched it a couple times. I got home that night and (Steven) Proscia was watching it and told me to look at it, and it was pretty cool. You could see everyone in the dugout jumping up and down and Coach Mac celebrating, so it was pretty cool.
You’re rounding third base – what’s it like when you look up and are running directly into the mob at home plate?
Hicks: It was pretty cool. When I touched third base and looked and saw the whole team around the plate and waiting to beat me up a little bit, it was pretty cool. I tried to incorporate a little New York Yankees, even though I despise them, by throwing the helmet up in the air right before I hit the plate. They beat me up pretty bad, but it was worth it.
Overall you had a good series – a big homer on Saturday as well.
Hicks: It seemed like the only way we scored over the weekend was by home runs. Phil hit the three-run homer in the second game Saturday and Grovatt and Parker in the last game. We were just getting good pitches and we were able to put good swings on them and the ball was carrying pretty well.
That says a lot about your team that you have so many different ways to win a game and so many different players who can do it for you.
Hicks: We’re definitely not considered one of the top home run hitting teams, but at any time anyone one through nine in our lineup can hit a ball out of the park or get the big hit. But we get runs any way that we can.
Talk about coming out and getting a sweep after exam week, when traditionally UVa does not fare so well after the break.
Hicks: We did a lot of work during exam break. The guys had a lot of exams, but we got in here as much as we could and put a lot of work in the cages. Every day that we had practice, we got after it and tried to treat it like a game. We knew coming out of exams that we would have North Carolina, and they always put up a huge fight.
Is it a big relief having finals done?
Hicks: Yes, now it’s the best time of the year. Now we just get to play ball. It gives us a lot of time to hang out with each other and have a good time together.
Are you looking forward to Miami?
Hicks: Yes, it will be the farthest south I have been. I’ve been to Florida a few times, but I’ve never been to Miami so it should be a fun experience. It’s a big weekend for us too – we can win the regular-season ACC title.
Talk about your parents – obviously they are avid fans.
Hicks: We only live 45 minutes away (Goochland), and they come to just about every game. Not only my parents but my brothers and my sister and her family, and all of my friends from home. My parents have a good time. My dad talks to all the guys in the stands and makes friends with them. My mom is pretty funny to sit beside in the stands. It’s usually bad to sit beside her since she gets too excited and she’ll beat you up a little bit – she gets pretty nervous. They have a good time and it’s awesome to have them at my games to cheer for me.
Food: Chicken alfredo
Spot on Grounds: the field
Baseball memory: either the walk-off home run or Omaha – both were pretty cool.
Class: I had a politics class this semester that was good. And Psych 260 – my professor in that was pretty cool.
Music: Little bit of everything. Country is probably No. 1
Sports Teams: I grew up a Braves fan, but I’m also a Tigers fan because of Justin Verlander. In football it’s the Redskins. Basketball it’s the Utah Jazz because of their nickname and my nickname (also Jazz).
Celebrity: Will Ferrell