By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The sweet left-hand swing hits for average and line-drive power.
He has patrolled the centerfield of Brighton Baseball Stadium the past three years with a dependable glove and accurate arm. And when Eli Davis is on the base paths, Cardinal Head Coach Mike “Wick” Wickersham can count on his speed to steal some bases.
Excelling at the five phases of baseball has Davis categorized as a five-tool player and also an Arkansas State University signee. Last Thursday Davis was joined by family, friends, teammates, coaches and Brighton High School officials for his National Letter of Intent ceremony in the Brighton Gymnasium.
“It’s amazing,” Davis said. “It’s a dream come true for me. With all the people supporting me from day one, this is just great.”
The great moment was shared with parents HT and Carol Davis. Eli’s sister Caroline was able to make. His big brother and former prep standout Aaron was able to attend but Eli gave him create for him developing in all phases of the game.
“Before I could even walk, I was there watching his games supporting him,” Eli recalled. “He always was a good role model for me, showing me how to act. He’s just been there for me all the time.”
Following Aaron, Eli picked up the game at the age of 4 playing in the Dixie Youth League in Tipton County.
“He had knowledge of the game since he was really young,” Carol recalled, because he went to so many games before that. He set and watched the game. He would just set in my lap to watch the game while the other kids were up and running around. He paid attention to the game.”
HT noted the combination of baseball intelligence and ability helped Eli achieve his dream.
“He’s been good since he was 5,” he said. “It just came natural to him. I think that was the big thing for him, just seeing his desire. And that’s really what it is. You’ve got to have that desire.
“Part of it is his God-given ability,” HT continued. “To be able to play in the field and at the plate is also his hard work.”
Eli said his parents left out another key contribution to him reaching his goal of becoming a Division I baseball player.
“They’ve always been there for me, like every game, every event to everything I’ve done,” he said. “From Rec league basketball to big baseball games, they’ve always there supporting me. They want the best for me and they give me words of encouragement and criticism when I need it. I just can’t thank them enough.”
With many stories and recollection from the diamond, Eli is excited to author his next baseball chapters in Jonesboro for Red Wolves Head Coach Tommy Raffo.
Davis noted once ASU expressed interest, they attended nearly 90 percent of Cardinal games and stayed in communication with him. Once Eli visited the campus he knew he was going to a Red Wolf.
“They’re not only getting a great baseball player,” Coach Wick said. “But they’re also getting a great kid. They’re getting a great athlete. They’re getting a great family. He’s the epitome of what it is to be a great student athlete and what it is to be humble.
“His like the quiet assassin,” he continued. “He gets the job done. He has one of the sweetest, smoothest left-hand swings that I ever had to coach in high school. We’re just excited he gets to go to Arkansas State. But before that we he gets to win a few more games as a Brighton Cardinal.”
Next year Davis will be a member of ASU playing in the Sun Belt Conference for Raffo. The veteran coach has been at ASU for almost 10 years winning more than 250 games.
Wick said Davis has the skills to add to Raffo’s total in the near future. The Cardinal Skipper is just happy he has one more season with him.
“He’s one of the fastest kids that I’ve ever coached,” he said. “His speed is unbelievable. He’s 34 steals from 100. He’ll get that. He’ll hit another milestone. His speed is there, his glove, he’ll be our No. 2 pitcher on the mound after Brett Wilkins. He’ll hit in the leadoff hole for us with a little bit of pop.”
HT said hearing people compliment his son as a five-tool player is nice. But the proud Dad said when people concern his son a five-star person, he knows his son will do well on the campus of ASU.
“It feels great to us because of all the hard work he’s put in,” he said. “He’s been chasing the ball around and we’ve been chasing him around since he was 4 years old.
“He’s a good kid,” HT concluded. “He wants to please. I think that’s another thing that drove him. He wanted to please his coaches, his parents, grandparents. He’s had a lot of support from both sets of grandparents. To know they’re in the stands watching, he wanted to please them.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.