From staff reports
Beaufort High School pitcher Joel Fickes and his Eagles teammates did not know whether their coach would return to the dugout Sunday.
They saw he was on the field Sunday morning but did not learn until about an hour before the first pitch that Brook Dixon would return to the team. Dixon gathered his players before the game, told them to get the jump on Hilton Head High early and to be ready to play.
"It was a big boost," Fickes said. "It was just a different energy, right when we got on the field."
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Eagles won the game, which was postponed Saturday night due to fog, beating the Seahawks 5-3 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Dixon was suspended from coaching practices and games after his Feb. 15 conviction for driving under the influence. Dixon said he was cleared by athletics director Jerry Linn to return to the dugout for Sunday's finish.
"It feels good to be out here," Dixon said. "The boys did good."
Said Linn: "Everything's hopefully back to normal."
Fickes started Sunday in the top of the fourth and held Hilton Head High to a run. The Eagles scored on a passed ball, a double-steal and a run-scoring double from Beau Brown after starting the day tied at 2 in the bottom of the third.
"As long as we held them down (defensively), our offense had been showing throughout," Fickes said. "We knew we could beat them offensively."
The game was part of Beaufort High's Lowcountry Invitational preseason tournament, which resumes today and runs through Wednesday. Wade Hampton plays Hilton Head High at 4 p.m. today, and Beaufort High plays Bluffton in the nightcap.
DAWSON SHOWS A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE
Kyle Dawson rarely cracked Beaufort High School's lineup last season as a junior.
He sometimes pitched in relief, and in those situations he might have been lucky enough to sneak an at-bat. But he certainly wasn't starting in center field. And when he hit, he wasn't hitting like he has to this point in the Eagles' young baseball season.
Dawson said when he began his senior year, coach Brook Dixon told him he was hitting as he had in the past -- not a compliment. But Dixon told the left-hander to rotate his back foot when he swings. Dawson said the small change has helped him get more extension and better cover the plate.
He slugged his way through the Eagles' scrimmages and last week had a memorable night in the season-opener against Battery Creek. He hit four doubles and a home run and drove in seven.
"Honestly, I think I got a bit lucky," Dawson said. "Some of those balls, man, I just kind of swung. And it was all a blur after that."
Dawson said he has entered his senior season with a better mind-set than last year, that he sometimes coasted as a junior knowing he had another year. He started two games on the mound as a junior but was otherwise used in relief.
Dawson started Saturday's game against Hilton Head High but was scratched after the game was postponed due to fog. He started in center field against Battery Creek and batted sixth.
"I feel like last year, I was still a little immature," Dawson said. "This year, being in the starting lineup, it gets you a lot more pumped up than sitting on the bench and coming in the middle of the game. So I guess that's a little more motivation."
HHH SOCCER COACH RECEIVES HONOR FROM HIS PEERS
Hilton Head High boys soccer coach Wayne Quinlan has been elected to a South Carolina hall of fame by the state's soccer coaches, a release said.
The South Carolina High School Soccer Coaches Association (SCHSSCA) held its 15th annual winter clinic last month and announced that Quinlan and Kevin Heise of Brookland-Cayce would become the 10th and 11 inductees into the SCHSSCA Hall of Fame during the North/South soccer game on June 10 in Mt. Pleasant.
Quinlan is entering his third season as the Seahawks boys soccer coach and is also the school's assistant athletics director. He has totaled more than 300 wins in his career, which also includes stops at Dutch Fork, Eastside and Beaufort High School. Quinlan started the soccer program at Beaufort High, where the Seahawks will travel for a non-region tilt Friday night.
Quinlan and Heise coached together last summer, when they led Team South Carolina to a win against Team North Carolina in the Clash of the Carolinas. It was Team South Carolina's first victory in the series in four tries.
The SCHSSCA Hall of Fame started in 2007.