NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Every athlete's goal is to play on varsity. For Domenic Hickok, that goal came true a few months ago.
Hickok is a junior outfielder for Niagara Falls and baseball is his sport. It's why this opportunity feels like a long time coming. Especially after he missed the last two seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a lingering football injury.
"It was a pretty bad sprain. Like I wasn't able to walk for two months or something," Hickok said about the injury he suffered in the Fall of 2020. "Like I love baseball. It's my favorite sport. So, it really sucked when I missed it."
Through physical therapy, Hickok got the all clear just in time for the 2021 travel season but getting himself ready for the varsity level took a lot more work. So he got together with former Niagara Falls team captain Nick Syposs, benefiting from his wisdom and advice.
"It's kind of amazing to work with him," Hickok said. "He knows what he's talking about. It helped me a lot."
Between practices, seeing a trainer three days a week, and going to the gym every day, others took notice.
"I've heard from other people that my work in the offseason definitely paid off," he said. "My arm got a lot stronger, I got faster, and it really shows just how much I improved."
"He works hard, great personality, great attitude, mixes in great with the team and just an overall great job," added head coach Robert Augustino.
As one of four outfielders on the team, Hickok is in the starting rotation mix. But his work at the plate, giving the team even more reason to put him in there.
"Dom's bat's gonna keep him in games and keep him in our rotation," said Augustino. "So as long as he keeps hitting and keeps progressing, he's there to stay this year and next year."