JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – Even earlier than Johnsonville’s first recreation, coach Quentin Davis had a sense about this season.
So a lot so, he confided an statement with assistant Kenny Baxley.
“We’re going to state,” Davis mentioned.
The Flashes certainly reached the SCHSL 1A closing earlier than shedding to Southside Christian. After Johnsonville completed 7-8 final yr, Davis’ workforce went 16-6 this marketing campaign, full with district and decrease state championships.
“I think last year, we had a bunch of juniors and we weren’t a young team. But they hadn’t had any varsity experience, really,” mentioned Davis, the Morning News Baseball Coach of the Year.
Case in level: Not each workforce received to play all its video games in 2021. And early within the 2020 season, it was canceled for everyone.
“Last year, they took some lumps, but they came into this year and bought into the program and what we were trying to do and how we were trying to do it,” Davis mentioned. “And that, along with the community backing us, was key. We had a huge amount of support from the community, and they also played a big part in turning this all around.”
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A unique method on the plate additionally helped.
“We didn’t swing at the plate very well last year; we struck out a lot,” Davis mentioned. “I think we took an approach this year that we were going to put the ball in play. We can run really well. If we put the ball in play and some guys in their field make mistakes, we’ll have some success.”
Davis performed for Darlington whereas attending Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology (graduated in 2001). He was additionally a standout at Francis Marion earlier than being drafted by the Atlanta Braves within the thirteenth spherical in 2005. He made it to Double-A ball earlier than realizing one thing was lacking.
“One day I went out and I didn’t have butterflies at the national anthem,” Davis mentioned. “And that was odd since I usually get nervous before every game and have butterflies. I didn’t have them the next day, and the day after. And that kind of told me playing wasn’t the same thing as it used to mean to me.”
After Davis put his taking part in days up to now, he grew to become an assistant at Darlington, then Johnsonville underneath then-coach Billy Sylvester (now coach at Conway).
It was a matter of time earlier than Davis himself grew to become coach of a baseball workforce. And, Johnsonville gave him that likelihood.
“I try to coach with the mentality I played with,” Davis mentioned. “If your shirt tail isn’t out, and you don’t have to keep tucking it in, then you weren’t playing. So I push my guys to be scrappy, and that’s something you can’t teach. This team was as scrappy as anybody. This town is scrappy, so I think this fits me perfectly.”