The Silent, Deadly Assassin

Zack Duarte

Lightning illuminates the Saturday night sky and both dugouts are left watching as the clock resets to a thirty minute countdown for play to resume. The Owls will have to wait to put the finishing touches on their victory over UALR until Sunday, as play is suspended due to the passing storm.

After throwing 121 pitches in almost seven innings of work, Owls starting pitcher Paul Davis sits in the dugout impatiently and watches as another flash of lightning paints the sky in the far off distance.

The next day, the Owls bullpen recorded the final six outs. After waiting over 16 hours, since the game was postponed, Davis earned another victory as he has done so often this year, creating his 10-1 record.

Although Davis finished strong, the threat of a rain stoppage endangered his chances of earning the victory.

“I am the most competitive guy you might ever meet. I can’t lose, I don’t know how to deal with a loss,” said Davis as his hands began rubbing up against one another. “I can’t even think about losing.”

After a game in which Davis dominated his opponent, the mere thought of losing a game can stir such an intense passion in him he has to pause mid-sentence and gather himself.

“When the lights go on, Paul really is a different player,” says Davis’s coach, John McCormack. “He’s the quintessential player, the one that every coach hopes to have on their team.”

MORE THAN JUST A HOBBY

Davis was born in Brandon, Florida and grew up mostly without a local professional team to root for.

At the age of 12, Paul began playing competitive baseball. “It was the first thing I really fell in love with, outside of family,” said Davis as a sudden excitment in his voice takes over. “I didn’t care too much where I played when I was a kid, I just had to be out on the field helping my team win.”

Davis quickly excelled at the sport as he played high school baseball for Treasure Coast High School. Davis was an all-conference, first team all-area and an honorable mention all-state selection.

Although now he is the Owl’s go-to-guy when the team needs a win, he was not always a pitcher. Spending time all around the diamond, Davis first honed his baseball skills at various positions, specializing on the left side of the diamond at shortstop and third base.

The aspect of Davis’s game that grew the most playing baseball as a teenager was his competitive edge.

“I get it from my family,” said Davis. “My dad motivated me to be better and still does every day.”

Davis also has a younger brother who pitches at Pensacola Junior College, where he played his first two collegiate seasons. He constantly credits his brother with giving him an extra edge.

“We push each other to do the best we can,” said Davis about his brother. “We compete against one another but in a way that motivates us to be the best.”

Although Davis has been wildly successful on the field and is always fired up when the ball is in his hands, a different side oozes out of him off the field.

“I really enjoy fishing and I have a daily routine of food on Saturdays, when I take the mound, other than that I am pretty laid back,” smirks Davis, as he jokingly adds, “Yeah, I’m really superstitious.”

EARLY SUCCESS

As a freshman at Pensacola Junior College, Davis tasted mild success going 6-3 with a 4.29 ERA.

“From my freshman to my sophomore year is probably when I learned the most about myself as a pitcher,” said Davis.

It was evident by his performance as a sophomore as Davis posted a 10-3 record with a 3.33 ERA and was voted as the team’s most improved player. More accolades were bestowed upon Davis as he earned first team all-conference and second team all-state honors.

Davis then earned a spot in the Junior College All-Star tournament in the summer of 2010. He traveled to the Netherlands as he represented America in a tournament against other countries such as Cuba, Japan and the Netherlands.

Following the All-Star tournament, Davis was drafted in the 29th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Boston Red Sox, although he chose not to sign a contract with the team, instead accepting an invitation to pitch for FAU.

“I want to get drafted higher, so I decided to go back to school, finish my degree, and improve as a pitcher,” said Davis. “My goal is to be drafted in the top 15 rounds. Then I may decide to sign a contract with whatever team decides to give me that chance.”

While Davis has major league aspirations in mind he is currently the Owls standout pitcher and hopes to lead them to postseason success. June will be a big month for Davis as he not only looks to take out more of FAU’s opponents on the field, but to get drafted in Major League Baseball’s annual draft and sign a contract with a professional team.