08/15/11 — Saints' infielder signs NLI with MOC

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Saints' infielder signs NLI with MOC

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 15, 2011 1:47 PM

The decision made perfect sense to Cody Davis.

Each of the past two summers, the Southern Wayne grad has fielded ground balls and turned double plays as a middle infielder for Wayne County Post 11, which plays its home games at Mount Olive College.

So, when the Trojans called, Davis answered.

"It's close to home," said Davis, who signed a national letter-of-intent with the perennial Division II baseball powerhouse. "The last two years playing Legion, I guess Coach (Rob) Watt really liked me. When I was talking to him, he wanted to make me a Trojan.

"(And) every year you've a chance to win the ring."

Davis helped lead Southern Wayne to a 16-win season and an appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs. He earned all-Eastern Carolina Conference accolades for the second straight year, and was a first-team, All-Area selection as a senior by the News-Argus.

During Legion play, Davis batted .320 and recorded a team-best nine stolen bases. He finished second on the team in total hits (41), RBI (30) and runs scored (38). Wayne County won the Area I championship for the first time since 2008, and finished runner-up to Cherryville Post 100 in the N.C. Senior American Legion state tournament.

"I think he really, since his freshman year starting on the varsity level, has made tremendous improvements ... especially going to second base for us," said Southern Wayne head coach Trae McKee. "Offensively, I think he's a scrappy hitter. He doesn't try to drive the ball out of the yard a lot.

"He has a knack to get on base and has a good understanding of what's going on on the baseball field."

Mount Olive won its second Southeast Regional in program history and ended up tied for third with Southern Connecticut State in the 2011 Division II College World Series. The Trojans posted 48 wins that included an unprecedented 10th Conference Carolina regular-season championship and their ninth league tournament crown.

The program has won nearly 150 games in the past three seasons combined.

Watt's knowledge and his ability to relate to players also lured Davis to stay close to home. He thought about the junior college route and drew some attention from Louisburg and Pitt Community College.

"(Coach Watt) is a little hard at times, but he expects the best out of everybody," said Davis. "He's just a good coach, definitely one of the best I've ever played for. He knows how to explain the game ... teach it in a way you understand."

MOC graduated 16 seniors, including second baseman Jason Simone.

Davis hopes to see some playing time during fall workouts and next spring, but also realizes he must develop consistency at the plate. He was one of seven Post 11 players to log 15 or more strikeouts for the season.

"Some at-bats I look sloppy and that comes after feeling comfortable in the box (after the previous at-bat)," said Davis. "I have to take every at-bat with the same mentality ... a matter of picking out pitches and being patient."