By Rick Assad
Hitting the softball for a high average is important and being able to hit with power is even better.
Fielding your position and having a strong and accurate throwing arm is another plus.
An often-overlooked trait is the ability to run fast. If you can run swiftly, you’re more likely to catch balls in the outfield before they fall.
In the case of Alex Davis, an outfielder for Burbank High and Cal State University Dominguez Hills, she has enough foot speed for two people.
“When I’m in the outfield, all I’m thinking is that the ball is mine, and to not let the ball fall,” she said. “If it does, I have a strong arm, and will throw out anyone going for extra bases.”
Even with amazing speed, Davis, a freshman who batted .247 with six doubles, a triple, a homer along with 14 runs batted in and 18 runs scored for the Toros, has honed her skills by putting in the hours to improve every facet of her arsenal.
“I owe everything to my work ethic,” she said. “No matter the circumstances I always find a way to work on my throwing, hitting, and running.”
This season Davis, who played in 69 games and 57 as a starter, saved a playoff game for the Toros, who finished 45-24, versus Chico State with her glove and her arm.
“My best highlight at the college level was robbing an extra-base hit at the right field fence and picking off the runner at first base,” she said. “My team won CSUDH’s first super regional title that game.”
On the season, Davis, who played right field primarily, had eight outfield assists, the most for an outfielder on the team and four came on throws to home plate.
Most of the time the love for a sport develops early. It did so for Davis, who had a .301 on-base percentage and is majoring in business.
“Softball is something that clicked with me as soon as I started playing. I fell in love with the grind, and every moment spent on the field,” she said. “I love robbing base hits and getting big hits in games. In high school and in college, I have seen all the amazing things our staff from the athletic department, the coaching staff, and families of my teammates do for us. The community is something that I’m beyond thankful for and love the most about playing softball.”
Davis, who stole seven bases in 10 attempts, knew she wanted to play college softball.
“I’m very lucky to have grown up in a city that loves softball like Burbank. Watching the Burbank versus Burroughs games when I was younger made me want to play in games at that intensity always. The Pacific League is a strong conference that gave me the opportunity to play against very talented players,” she pointed out. “Last but not least, Coach Mike Delaney helped make my high school softball years the most memorable. He knew how important it was to me to get to the next level, and he was always there to help me become the player and person I am today.”
A game versus crosstown rival Burroughs is still notable for Davis, who was an All-Pacific League member three times.
“My best highlight in high school was beating Burroughs in extra innings my junior year,” she said. “It was an amazing feeling celebrating with my team.”
Delaney remembers that game.
“Besides being a good hitter and fielder, Alex was a very smart base runner, and that ability helped us with a win versus Burroughs,” he said. “It’s always a pleasure to coach an athlete like Alex. Her desire to be her best was a great character trait. I’m very happy to see her doing so well at CSUDH and have no doubt there’s more success to come for her.”
Davis addressed what college softball has been like.
“It has always been my dream to play in college. I met my batting coach Daisy Beltran one day when I was 12 years old practicing with my dad [Peter] at the park,” she said. “I owe a huge part of me having the opportunity to play at CSUDH to Daisy. Playing college softball is the most rewarding, amazing, and fun experience I’ve ever had. I’m blessed to be a part of such an amazing team where each and every one of my teammates have impacted my life for the better.”
Toiling at the prep level isn’t easy and then playing collegiately is yet another big step.
“The biggest difference between high school and college softball is the competition level. What I love most about playing in the CCAA [California Collegiate Athletic Association] and NCAA Division II, is that every game is anyone’s game,” Davis said. “My team proved that this year by making it to the Division II National Championship Series unranked. It doesn’t matter who’s ranked and who has the most athletic looking players. It’s all about who’s willing to be the toughest and to get things done for their team each and every pitch.”
Playing softball at the prep and collegiate level has been an experience that’s unmatched.
“I am lucky to find myself on teams that have a genuine connection. In my 2017 and 2018 seasons at BHS I played with 15 girls that grew up together and made every practice and game some of my best memories,” Davis explained. “When I went on to college softball, I found myself with another amazing group of women.”
Though played at a different speed and skill level, the way Davis played the game doesn’t differ.
“I approach my high school and college games the same. I am always excited to play and get the chance to be a game changer for my team,” she said. “However, I do admit, there is a lot more planning and strategizing out there for each and every college softball game I’ve played. We play two doubleheaders a weekend, so teams know what’s coming by time we play the third and fourth game. It’s crucial we know where to pitch and set up the defense.”
Davis has three more seasons remaining at CSUDH and credits her time playing for the Bulldogs as a confidence builder.
“Playing for BHS was always a dream of mine. Once when I got the opportunity, every game, every pitch, and inning in my Burbank High uniform was a proud moment for me. Every day I would be in school, hardly waiting to walk over to McCambridge Park with my teammates,” she said. “I knew a lot of girls playing for other schools in the Pacific League, and it would be exciting to play with them.”
Davis continued: “Finally, I loved how important athletics were to Burbank High. We have signing day at the end of the spring semester for the seniors going on to play in college,” she said. “This love and support from BHS always motivated me to play for my city and high school. Playing at the high school level was some of the best times I’ve experienced.”
Delaney is glad Davis was available all four years.
“Alex came into our program as a ninth-grade pitcher,” he said. “Although she was good, her athletic ability stood out in the field. She could play multiple positions and all pretty well for a freshman. Her passion for softball was evident and her goals were set high. All through her career at Burbank she worked hard to achieve those goals.”
Delaney went on: “Alex was not only a very good athlete but an excellent student,” he said. “She was a good role model for our younger players as she progressed through high school.”
Keeping in shape is essential in order to play at the highest level. Davis, whose mother is Joanna, had some help in that department.
“I think that finding a diet that works for you is the best. I try to listen to my body by fueling it with protein, greens, and a lot of pasta,” she said. “I’m glad I grew up getting home cooked meals from my Yiayia (grandma in Greek) [Olga, who is 98 years old]. This helped me make a habit of eating right and staying away from eating out.”
It never hurts to have help in any form and that includes grandma.