Bartram Trail shortstop Reedy Davenport headlines The Record’s 2017 All-County Softball Team
By WILL BROWN email@example.com
Her stats were just as stellar as they were during her sophomore campaign, but in the time between her two trips to Aberdeen Park, the 17-year-old did what many teenagers do — she matured.
“I try to get better every day,” Davenport said. “Not just on the field, but life itself. You never know what people are going through. One simple act can change their day, change their life. I try to be motivated and motivating for other people. I like to celebrate other people’s successes as much as I celebrate my own.”
The Florida Gulf Coast commitment hit .480 with 46 RBIs, 45 runs scored and 27 extra base hits in 28 games. More importantly, her leadership propelled the Bears to a 23-5 record and a second straight district championship.
“She has always been a great player. This year, you really saw her develop as a team leader and a great, great teammate,” said Bartram Trail coach Jen Harman.
Bartram Trail had its worst season in its illustrious history in 2016. But, every player from that team returned this spring. Not coincidentally, the team’s chemistry improved and so did its record.
The addition of freshman outfielder Maegan O’Brien, and her .600 on-base percentage, meant the Bears had a lineup that could score runs in bunches. It also moved Davenport from leadoff to the No. 2 spot in the order for most of the season.
“We did a better job hitting, top to bottom, than in years past,” Davenport said. “Our (No.) 1 through (No.) 9 hitter could get on base. They did a great job of getting on base and getting in position where I could score them. It allowed for more depth in your lineup when you have a No. 2 hitter who can drive in three RBIs when she comes up to bat. That’s a great thing. If you don’t, then you have a (No.) 3 batter who can certainly drive in three runs easily. Our batting lineup was really strong this year and did their job.”
Davenport hit .581 with runners in scoring position. She also stole 16 bases, meaning the three who hit behind her — Savannah Parker, Jenae Wash and Olivia Creamer — all had multiple opportunities to drive in runs.
One of the games where the Bears didn’t produce a lot of runs may have changed their season. Oakleaf beat the Bears 8-2 in St. Johns on March 8 to hand the home team a third straight loss. Oakleaf didn’t lose again en route to the Class 8A state title and Bartram Trail won 19 of its next 21 to end the season.
“We needed to get better. We started out fine with the first four wins,” Davenport said. “We thought ‘Oh, wow. This is going to be an easy season.’ That week showed us we needed to work harder in practice and be more focused in games, and really have each other’s backs. Part of winning and being a good softball team is you have to celebrate each other’s success. It really opened our eyes to not our own individual successes, but as a team, (we had to) move forward and be better.”
Three weeks later against Nease, Harman noticed the difference in her shortstop. The Bears won the district contest 10-0. Creamer hit a pair of home runs and pitched a shutout while sophomore outfielder Anna Cowling drove in a pair of runs. Meanwhile, Davenport didn’t do much.
“I’m pretty sure she was 0-fer that night,” Harman said. “… That was the first night she was high-fiving girls when they came in the dugout. Anna (Cowling) made a great catch in left field, and she literally ran out and hugged her. That’s where I saw the maturity and her developing as a leader.”
Davenport joins Avery Geehr, Kalyn Loverich and Molly Manning as a two-time Softball Player of the Year. What has separated Davenport from the others is they led their teams to the state tournament, while the Bears have been eliminated in the regional quarterfinals in each of the last two years.
“It’s a huge honor knowing how many great players are in this county,” Davenport said. “Savannah Parker, I would say, is equally as deserving as I am. To win it again is very humbling. I wish I could share it with all those players because they deserve it too. It’s humbling and it’s motivating because I would like to go for a three-peat.”
No one has ever done that.
But, it’s incongruent to use the word never in relation to Davenport. Facing great players and great challenges fuels her fire to improve.
Her average and on-base percentage dipped slightly from her sophomore season, but her run production increased and she stole 16 bases, just as she did in 2016. Davenport said her next goal is to continue to develop her softball knowledge, get stronger and be a threat to reach base through a bunt or a bomb.
“You always want to get better. If it helps my team, that’s my goal,” Davenport said. “We want to win. The stats don’t surprise me. I would sacrifice lower stats for a longer playoff run.”