Player Of The Year: John Davis

“Gutsy” isn’t strong enough a word. Maybe “Blood-and-gutsy.”

Either way, Woodcrest Christian senior John Davis was an absolute gamer for the CIF-SS D5 champions this season, and for his efforts he is FOMB’s 2012 Inland Area Prep Baseball Player Of The Year.

Davis, for those who may not know, pitched a four-hitter to defeat Lancaster Paraclete in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 champions game on June 2, 2012, and he did it with a serious wound in his right throwing hand.

His hand was covering in stitches. It was gruesome-looking.

“It felt pretty good. We took the necessary steps to make it to where I was definitely able to pitch,” said Davis, who struck out seven. “I ended up blowing out two stitches at the very top of it — so I took two stitches out — but we had stuff to keep it under control. We used a little but of NuSkin to haul it all together.”

He suffered the large cut in the D5 semifinal vs. Hemet Tahquitz five days earlier while diving head first back into a base.

He bled so profusely from the cut that he was removed from the game. Despite his departure (he had gone 2 for 3 with a run scored), Woodcrest Christian went on to win 6-3 to advance to their third title game in four seasons.

So tough was Davis that he wanted to keep playing. To heck with his hand.

“I actually asked the coach if I could keep pitching, as I had blood running down my hand and it was dripping on the field,” he said. “Still, I walked up to him and said, ‘Hey, does this mean I’m done? Can I keep pitching?’ And he said, “Well, legally you can’t pitch. You might want to go get that checked out.’ And so it was like my whole season, and all four years of high school flashed before my eyes, and you know, maybe I’m done. Maybe I won’t get to play my last game if we win. I definitely was a shock. It was a shock, and I didn’t really know how to respond to it.”

Davis, to his merit, was invited to the Inland Empire Baseball Coaches’ Association all-star game in San Bernardino (Ca.) on Monday, June 4.

He didn’t play in the game but gave me five good minutes beforehand while his Riverside County teammates warmed up in the field.

Are you disappointed that you’re not going to play tonight?

“It’s a kinda depressing, but I’m here to support my friends. I know just about everybody on the team. It’s definitely not how I’d want to be here.”

It’s probably pretty hard to be too terribly disappointed considering the success Davis and Woodcrest Christian have had two of the last three seasons. He was the starting catcher on the 2010 title team.

Two CIF championships, would you mind reflecting on that a little bit?

“It’s a great feeling. Not very many people win one championship, and I was fortunate enough to win two. I thank God for that. I could’ve just been sittin’ at home the last two weeks but I got the opportunity to play baseball.”

What went into your decision to attend Cal Baptist maybe other than the location? (CBU is less than 10 miles from Woodcrest.)

“I like the coaches. I talked to all the coaches and they all seem to be on the same page with each other, and they understand what they want from me and they understand what I want from them. I think it’s just going to be a great experience being able to further my game under all five of their coaches.”

They do have a beautiful facility there, and you will get to stay close to home…

“They do have a beautiful facility. I’ll be living on campus but I’m definitely 10 minutes from home. If I need to go home for anything…”

It should be great having your parents and friends come to all the games. That’s not a thing a lot of guys can say.

“It’ll be great, and that partially why I picked it too. My grand parents are a big part of everything I do, and it’s kind of a way of returning the favor to them too in a way. They can come see my games if they choose to. It’s kind of a nice thing to give to them for them always being there for me.”

So you’re telling me that amongst all the “blood-and-guts” there’s a great deal of intestinal fortitude and integrity?

CBU has recruited a leader, not just another ballplayer.

Feature photo by DAVID BAUMAN for The Press-Enterprise

Davis was 9-1 with a 0.98 ERA in 17 games for Woodcrest Christian in 2012. / Photo by Dennis Pope

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