TCL All-Star Game: Kilgore's Dickey enjoying return to high school field
July 8, 2013 at 10 p.m.
When Matthew Dickey signed to play baseball this summer with the East Texas Pump Jacks, he looked at the schedule and circled today's date.
Dickey will suit up for the East tonight when the Texas Collegiate League holds its annual All-Star Game at historic Driller Park in Kilgore. Driller Park is home to the Pump Jacks during the summer, but it was also Dickey's home field as a member of the Kilgore High School Bulldogs.
"Of course it was one of my goals to compete and to make the all-star team from the get-go, but with the game being in Kilgore it just makes it that much better," said Dickey, who will be joined on the East squad by seven Pump Jacks teammates.
"The game being in Kilgore just gave me more incentive to make the all-star team. I want to play every game I can in that ballpark."
The TCL All-Star Game is set for 7:05 p.m. tonight. The East squad is made up of players from the host Pump Jacks as well as the Acadiana Cane Cutters and The Woodlands Strykers. The West will consist of players from the Brazos Valley Bombers, Victoria Generals and Texas Marshals.
Dickey hit .460 with 35 RBIs, 37 runs scored and 13 stolen bases as a junior at Kilgore High School, and signed a national letter-of-intent with Stephen F. Austin State University before the start of his senior season. As a senior for Kilgore, he hit .394 with a home run, eight doubles, three triples, 17 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
The former Bulldog played in 47 games and started 20 as a freshman this past spring at SFA, hitting .215 with a double, two triples, seven RBIs and six stolen bases in eight attempts.
As the temperatures heated up this summer, so did Dickey's bat. He's hitting .314 with four doubles, 11 RBIs, 14 walks, 16 stolen bases and 20 runs scored in 30 games heading into the all-star break.
"I think it's just a matter of growing as a player," he said. "The ball looks huge coming in right now. I'm getting on base, and I have more stolen bases now than I had all season (at SFA). I just feel confident."
A big part of the improvement is Dickey's patience at the plate, and that has shown itself in his strikeout totals. Dickey fanned 30 times in 93 at bats in the spring at SFA, but has struck out just 16 times in 102 at bats this summer with the Pump Jacks.
As for the pressure of playing in front of home fans this summer - and especially in the all-star game tonight?
"No pressure. I feed off it," he said. "I like having people there to watch me. It makes me play harder."
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/lnjsports" target="_blank">@lnjsports</a>).