College World Series: Texas Tech's Michael Davis hopes to end four-year career in style
In what's a rarity in sports, Michael Davis enjoyed a storybook ending to his Texas Tech home career.
Doused by sprinkles of water, the Red Raider shortstop was mid-celebration for what turned out to be the go-ahead, two-run home run in the fourth inning which propelled the No. 9 Red Raiders to a 6-2 victory over Duke in the finale of a best-of-three super regional series.
More so, as he had a couple of days to soak in his accomplishments, Davis could only smile and give thanks to his teammates who have provided him so much joy over the past four years.
The senior would get another chance to enjoy a trip to the College World Series. Texas Tech is set to take on Florida at 6 p.m. Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
"It's awesome when you get that moment to really make something like that happen, especially for your teammates," Davis said. "But, more importantly, they stepped up around me too. ... You never have a doubt in anyone of these guys. You believe in them all year, and you see what they're capable of. When it all comes together, it's awesome."
Playing at home
When Davis committed to play for Texas Tech more than four years ago, the strong-armed infielder didn't have to travel far to his new college home.
"I grew up on 20th street just right across from campus, the law school," he recalled. "I was always on campus. So, being able to come here and play baseball the last four years here -- do the things we've done -- has been the best part of my life."
But there were a bit of adverse times during his Red Raider tenure.
In what he described as personal and family issues, Davis was put in a situation in which he made one of the most difficult decisions in his life: step away from his teammates, coaches and the game he loved.
"It's hard because you know it's not the right time to do it," he said. "It's tough when you have to make those decisions. That's was the decision we made. At the end of the day, it worked out the right way. And I'm very happy with where I'm at right now."
More so, he's become a locker room leader and positive source of encouragement due to his prior experiences.
"It feels really good to look back and see a guy like Michael Davis at shortstop, and it gives you a lot of confidence," Texas Tech reliever Ty Harpenau said back in March. "Really, all of the guys out there just let you know if you allow contact, they're going to pick it up."
Back in Omaha
Davis admits the Red Raiders were certainly not playing their best baseball a couple of months ago.
Earlier in the season, Texas Tech did not look like a College World Series bound squad when it dropped five of eight games from March 9-18.
But, rather than let the bad spurt affect its play, Texas Tech continued to come out and try to improve each game.
"Honestly couldn't tell you what games we lost or won," Davis said. "I don't really look at that too much. I just know we're having fun. And you have a lot more fun when you're winning."
After staving off the series sweep to the Bears, the Red Raiders rattled off a record of 27-13, including a 9-3 mark to close out the final 12 games of the season and earn a third berth to the College World Series in five seasons.
A big part of the late-season run was due to a short break due to final exams, prior to a three-game road series against Oklahoma State to end the regular season, which Davis felt allowed the team to take some time away from baseball and refocus on themselves.
"I think that kind of changed everything," he said. "It just refocused everything. You go sweep Oklahoma State and it puts the team and the minds of the younger guys back where they need to be. And the older guys get a little assurance and can relax a little bit."
And for the first couple of days, the Red Raiders will be able to indulge on what's been a childhood dream for a majority of the roster.
Davis, who is making his second trip to college baseball's biggest stage, will look to keep his emotions in check for his last go-around.
"It just comes and goes so quick, I've just tried to enjoy every moment and take it all in," he said. "I've loved every moment of it.
"I can't thank the coaches and the players, the guys on the team now, enough for allowing me to take that time away and come back and be a part of this. This has been the best season of my life, hands down." ___