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Top coach resigns; top player opts to transfer

By Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

What in the world is going on?

The head coach of the No. 1-ranked, Class AAA baseball team in the state is resigning, effective at the end of the season.

That's right. Hurricane's Billy Joe Hicks is calling it quits.

Why?

PARENTS.

I guess a 156-61 career record at Hurricane doesn't attest to the idea that Hicks knows what he's doing. Funny, the Arizona Diamondbacks think enough of his baseball knowledge to have employed him as a scout.

I won't write in this column that I've never questioned a coach's move before. I have. And I'm not saying there aren't knowledgeable fans among parents. There are.

But to make it so tough on a coach that he wants to quit is ridiculous -- especially one that's proved to be as successful as Hicks.

Hicks says he's not having fun anymore. That's reason enough to call it quits.

THIS AND THAT:

n CENTER OF ATTENTION: Several Major League scouts have been in town the past two weeks to view Bridgeport's Mike Honce. One of them clocked his fastball at 93 miles per hour.

What does Honce think of the attention?

"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "Really, it makes me try that much harder."

n SHE'S NO. 1: Alexis Hornbuckle, the co-high school basketball state player of the year, has been rated by one recruiting service as the best player in the country. Hornbuckle, who led Capital to back-to-back state championships, has enrolled at South Charleston for her junior season.

n DOMINANT TIGHT END: Ex-West Virginia tight end Sean Berton was named the top offensive newcomer and the most dominant offensive player for North Carolina State's recently-completed spring drills. Berton's claim-to-fame as a Mountaineer came when he made a fabulous, tight-rope catch in the back of the end zone at Rutgers to give Don Nehlen the 200th win of his career.

n HERD VS. TIDE?: ESPN is trying to arrange a game between Marshall and Alabama for Aug. 25. The biggest drawback to the game is that Alabama is currently under NCAA sanctions, and the organization would have to approve the Crimson Tide's participation in the game.

n QUOTE OF THE YEAR: "That's why we call this place the house of wax. We just hang around and hang around and keep the heat on until the other team has a total meltdown." -- Liberty baseball coach Pete Iquinto, following one of his team's many close, low-scoring games at the Liberty Baseball Complex.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com

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