The Hoots’ overall goal was to rebuild a reputation that was in tatters from the days of the Hannibal Cavemen.

They wanted to build a franchise that the Hannibal and surrounding communities could take pride in and believe they were a part of it. Owner Rick DeStefane made that known before the first game of the season, noting in a speech that he wanted the fans to take ownership in the team.

The club believes it has made strides toward that by changing the culture and atmosphere around the ballpark. That started in the dugout.

“You want to treat it like a college program as close as you can, but you also realize it’s summer ball,” Hicks said. “You don’t hold them quite to the same standard as a college team.”

The Hoots’ players seemed to respond to that. They were energetic and seemed to enjoy playing for Hicks, who was in his first managerial position at any level.”

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