Summer Stock

CAPE COD, Mass.–Erik Davis approached a Cape Cod Baseball game in late June like any other, with just a few exceptions.

For this one, the Brewster righthander didn’t toss a bullpen session.
He left his uniform and equipment bag at home. And in addition to
wearing sunglasses, Davis had gauze taped over his right eye.

His visit to the park was his first back to the diamond since his
devastating injury less than two weeks earlier in Hyannis, Mass.

Upon watching his teammates defeat Yarmouth-Dennis, Davis harbored no
feelings of remorse or regret. He didn’t experience any uneasiness,
either.

He simply wants to recover and return to the field, as a player, rather
than spectator, as quickly as possible. His doctors said that he would
make a full recovery and that a comeback was likely by summer’s end.

That’s not soon enough for Davis, who is heading into his junior season
at Stanford, whose Cape season came to abrupt stop just 41⁄3 innings
after it had begun.

Frightful Summer

A pitcher for much of his career, Davis has witnessed a fair number of
batted balls zooming back at him. But never before had he been hit in
the face.

Until June 18, when Davis made his first start in the Cape Cod League for the Whitecaps.

Davis is able to replay everything about the line drive off the bat of
Vanderbilt shortstop Ryan Flaherty that night. He remembers seeing the
ball rocket off the barrel and toward his face. He recalls trying–in
vain–to swat it away with his glove.

Then he hit the ground and quickly felt his temple, then his jaw.

After concluding that the ball hadn’t hit either spot, he touched the
skin around his right eye and pulled his hand away. His fingertips were
coated in blood.

Davis, who remained conscious throughout, left the field on a stretcher
and was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“It comes with the territory,” he said. “(As a pitcher) you have to
know that the ball could hit you at any moment. That day, nothing was
different. He just got a good piece of it.”

Davis had two successful surgeries while on Cape Cod. He had an
operation on his injured right eye and later a titanium plate and
screws were implanted in the 19-year-old’s face, replacing and
stabilizing shattered bones.

He has since returned to his California home, where he continued his
recovery amidst the support and comfort of his family. The sight in
Davis’ right eye was improving daily, and there are many who are
thankful.

Support Staff

Davis’ parents and five siblings were more than 3,000 miles away when
Davis went down. Davis’ mother, Gloria, was listening to the game on
the Internet when her son’s summer took a scary turn.

Fearing the worst, she bought a ticket for the first-available
Boston-bound flight and arrived from California at her son’s bedside at
5 a.m., the following morning.

“When I got there, he asked me, ‘How are you doing, Mom?’ ” she said.
“That’s just the kind of person he is. He saw me, and was more worried
about me than himself.”

Davis received some brotherly love, too. Stanford teammates Nolan
Gallagher and Michael Taylor, both of whom were playing on the Cape
with Yarmouth-Dennis, stopped by his hospital room.

“Anytime someone goes through something that traumatic, it’s not about
baseball; it’s about quality of life,” Taylor said. “It meant a lot to
him that we were there.”

The support kept coming. Davis even received a call from former
Pacific-10 Conference righthander Mark Prior, who suffered an elbow
injury in 2005 on a similar play.

“I’ve never met him, or heard from him, but he must have heard my story because he left me a nice message,” Davis said.

Not long after the incident, Davis showed no significant side effects
of the injury. The swelling had vanished. There were no black-and-blue
marks or gruesome scars near his eye. In addition to looking healthy,
Davis felt well, and was anxious to pitch again.

There is a summer league near his Mountain View, Calif., home. Pending
medical clearance, Davis would like to pitch in that league.

Once school starts at Stanford, he expects things to be right back to
normal. Davis made 22 appearances as a sophomore this spring, 21 as a
reliever for the Cardinal. He went 1-1, 4.91 with four saves.

His summer on the Cape was supposed to serve as a springboard to an
improved junior season at Stanford, as well as a precursor to next
year’s draft.

Things didn’t go as planned, of course, and his time on the mound for
Brewster might have ended prematurely. But the experience certainly
provided Davis with a lasting memory.

“When I look back on it, I won’t be thinking about my ERA with
Brewster,” he said. “I’ll remember what happened that game, that
night.”

–CHRISTOPHER VITO
Cape Cod Times

Baby ‘Canes Paving Path

MARIETTA, Ga.–Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat summer championship series
wound down in suburban Atlanta with a familiar team finishing on top.
The 18-and-under wood bat tournament, featuring more than 120 teams
from across the United States and Canada, concluded with a pair of
Florida entries meeting in the title game.

The South Florida-based Florida Bombers beat the Florida Magic 5-2,
marking the fourth time the Bombers have won the tournament in the past
five years.

The Bombers pitching staff was led by a pair of Miami-bound
righthanders, Alex Koronis and Anthony Nalepa. Nalepa was named most
valuable pitcher thanks to 121⁄3 innings in which he allowed four hits,
a walk and 15 strikeouts.

The top underclassmen who played integral roles for the Bombers were
first baseman Eric Hosmer, a rising junior from Miami’s American
Heritage High and rising senior outfielders Kentrail Davis (Theodore,
Ala., High) and Mike McGee (Port St. Lucie, Fla., High).

Magic rising senior third baseman Gary Gustavson (Palm Beach Central High) went 13-for-29 on his way to MVP honors.

The event was deep in Southeast-based clubs, and the Bombers dispatched
one of just a few strong West Coast teams in attendance, the ABD
Bulldogs.

ABD’s top two pitchers–rising seniors Cole Cook (Palisades Charter
High, Los Angeles) and Kyle O’Campo (Poly High, Riverside, Calif.)–did
not make the trip to Marietta, but rising junior lefthander Sean
Tierney filled in admirably on ABD’s staff. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound
Tierney might not have been atop scouts’ follow lists entering the
summer but he’s come on strong. He pitched at 87 mph, touching 91 mph
from a loose, clean and easy three-quarters arm slot.

“Well he was certainly one of the nice surprises this week,” said a scout with a National League organization.

Tierney, a Clover Hill High (Midlothian, Va.) product, has committed to Virginia.

ABD shortstop Nick Noonan put on another strong performance at the
18-and-under event. A lefthanded hitter with good actions in the field,
Noonan displayed an ability to make consistent sharp contact as well as
an advanced hitter’s acumen.

“You really have to see him play for a while to appreciate how good he
could be,” said a scout with an American League club. “He maintains his
balance well at the plate, and seems to have a nose for the strike
zone. He’s just a really good all-around hitter.”

–ALAN MATTHEWS

SUMMER SNAPSHOTS

• USA Baseball’s college national team suffered its first loss in its
15th game of the summer, a 2-1 defeat to Korea. However, a 9-2 victory
the next day secured the series win, giving the team an undefeated
record in series play heading into its annual battle against Japan.
Team USA’s pitching staff had performed as advertised. Vanderbilt lefty
David Price had struck out 33 while allowing just five hits in 20
innings and Texas Christian righthander Jake Arrieta had not allowed a
run in 18 innings, although he had walked 10 against 17 strikeouts.

Team USA’s offense was paced by Texas Tech outfielder Roger Kieschnick,
who had six extra-base hits in 38 at-bats. The rising sophomore was
batting .368-1-14.

• It was the flashy defense of Gino Matias (St. John’s) that took
center stage at the Coastal Plain League all-star game. The rising
sophomore second baseman robbed a pair of American all-stars of hits.
Outer Banks outfielder Nate Parks was named offensive player of the
game. The Virginia Tech senior went 1-for-2 with a triple, a walk and
an RBI in the American all-stars’ 7-6 win over the National division.
Parks was batting .330-3-8 in 30 games for the Daredevils.

• Arkansas righty Shaun Seibert’s strong sophomore season carried over
into his summer in the Cape Cod League. The rising junior was 3-0 and
had not allowed an earned run in 29 innings with 25 strikeouts for
Brewster. He was 4-0, 2.79 in 61 innings this season at Arkansas.

• Southpaw Nate Boman, a ninth-round pick by the Angels this year, was
2-1, 1.54 in the six games he’d started with Yarmouth-Dennis. Boman had
given up 12 hits in 23 innings with 27 punchouts. Before injuring his
shoulder as a sophomore in 2005, Boman was considered a potential
high-round pick. As a true freshman at San Diego in 2004 he owned the
team’s lowest ERA, with a 2.26 mark. He went 5-1, 2.28 with 53
strikeouts as a sophomore before being injured. The Angels were
expected to make a run at signing Boman before the school year begins
in August.

• First baseman Will Breslin, a rising junior out of Belmont Abbey, was
scorching through the Florida Collegiate League with Orlando. Breslin
went 7-for-13 (.538) with three doubles, three RBIs and four runs
during a recent tear. He was one of the league’s top five batters,
hitting .328-0-9.

• A pair of Vermont’s top pitchers, Joe Esposito (senior, New York
Tech) and Chris Friedrich (rising sophomore, Eastern Kentucky) were
named to the New England Collegiate League all-star rosters. Esposito
was 4-2, 1.99 in 45 innings over seven games.  Friedrich was 2-0,
1.80 in 25 innings. Friedrich was one of the top pitchers in the NCAA
this spring, going 10-2, 1.98. He threw 82 innings in 15 games, only
giving up 64 hits and striking out 110. This summer he has continued
that trend with 28 strikeouts and just four walks for Vermont.

• Running away with the Alaska League home run lead was Beau Mills, a
rising junior from Fresno State. Mills was suspended from his team at
the end of the season due to academic shortcomings, leaving the
Bulldogs without their best hitter for the postseason. Mills is now
showing what damage he might have provided, with seven home runs in a
league where the next-closest leader had three. Mills was tied for the
RBIs lead with 30. He planned to transfer to Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State.

• After leading Wisconsin-Stevens Point to the Division III World
Series and being named an All-American and all-tournament player in the
process, Jordan Zimmerman was having continued success in the
Northwoods League. A two-way player during the spring, Zimmerman’s sole
focus was pitching with Eau Claire this summer. The results have been
staggering, as Zimmerman led the league in strikeouts and was fifth in
ERA with a 1.12 mark in 64 innings. Batters were hitting just .144 off
the righthander through nine appearances.

• Trey Vice, a rising junior lefthander from Westbrook Christian High
in Wellington, Ala., was one of a handful of standouts at Team One’s
South Showcase in Demorest, Ga. Righthander Connor Hoehn (St. John’s
College High, Demascus, Md.) also performed well at the event.

College | #2007

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus