For the first time since the NESCAC baseball playoff system was initiated in 2001, Bates College is one of the four teams in action this weekend to determine a championship. One of the big reasons why is former St. John’s Prep standout Kevin Davis.
The senior third baseman comes into the playoffs with a .363 batting average. In 113 at-bats he has 41 hits, including 10 doubles, one homer, 24 RBI and an on-base percentage of .409. His walk off sacrifice fly plated the winning run in an extra inning 6-5 victory over Tufts last weekend.
Tufts edged the Bobcats (19-19 overall) for first place in the East while Wesleyan and Amherst represent the West Division in the double elimination format, with the title game being held tomorrow.
“It’s exciting,” said Davis, an English major who already has a job with Fidelity after graduation. “It’s definitely my best year. I hit around .350 last season and .320 the year before.
“This is a huge weekend for our program. Last year we knew we had the talent, but lost a lot of one-run games. This time we’ve been able to put it all together, even after an 0-6 start.
“It’s tough for us to get going early because NESCAC teams can’t start practicing until February 15,” continued Davis. “Our breaks are set up like high school, with one in February and another in April instead of the usual spring break most colleges have. We had only one day of practice indoors, taking ground balls on a rubber floor before leaving for Georgia, to play six games in a row. Our hitting was pretty good, but we made a ton of errors that led to unearned runs.”
The team’s cleanup hitter, Davis said once the Bobcats returned home they started to click.
He is happy to be the regular third baseman this season. He played a lot at the hot corner a year ago along with time in the outfield and at first base. “I’m more comfortable at third because I didn’t play much outfield in high school,” said Davis, who also played football.