By Diover Duario/The Times-Standard
The Times-Standard / Sports Section
A 22-year-old Hoopa native, Ronny “Junior” Davis finally gets another check off his bucket list.
“I’ve watched a good many games at that ballpark, usually with my family sometimes with friends,” Davis said. “It’s always kind of been a dream of mine.”
Three years into his collegiate career, the right-handed pitcher decided to reach out to Eric Giacone — his old travel ball coach who serves as the pitching coach for the Humboldt Crabs.
Giacone carved him out a spot on the lineup.
“He’s the kind of guy you want out here playing summer ball: works hard, doesn’t complain,” Giacone said. “He’s at his best when he’s throwing strikes — which goes to say about pretty much everyone — but he’s a tough-minded kid. He can be tough to hit when he’s on and he’s throwing well but he can also battle through those tough situations.”
Davis grew up in a family of 10; the oldest among them was his brother Joe followed by six sisters and “Junior” himself as the youngest.
A ball-playing bunch, the Davis family is stacked with baseball and softball players.
His father, Ronny Dean Davis Sr. was known as “coach” among much of the Hoopa Valley community. After a distinguished prep sports career of his own, Davis’ father coached the Hoopa youth football team for 10 years, including the 1999 championship team, which had Davis’ brother Joe on the roster. Joe Davis also helped St. Bernard’s Academy in Eureka win two section championships, one in football and one in baseball.
“It takes a lot of dedication and I feel really blessed to be where I am today,” Davis said of his first season for the NAIA’s University of Antelope Valley just outside of Los Angeles. “My brother was always there to play catch with me in the offseason, working with me outside of practice.”
After three years at Shasta College — a redshirt for one — Davis received a number of scholarships from several schools but ultimately chose to play for the Antelope Valley Pioneers so his hometown fans could still come watch him sling the ball.
“I like being close to home because it would be hard for my family and friends to travel out of state,” Davis said. “They like coming to see me play, and I figured they’d get to see more games is I stayed in California.”
Davis said he’s watched many friends and even relatives unable to fulfill their potential due to a lack of schooling or even having their lives snatched away.
Now on the brink of winning his first conference title in his career, Davis said the education and opportunities baseball has brought him are experiences he hopes to relish especially for those he knew who could not.
“I think about that often and I know a lot of people were in the situation I was in, who shared the love I had for the game and some with all the talent you wanted but couldn’t make it,” Davis said. “My family always reminds me that I’m here for the experience. I feel blessed and thankful for being here playing baseball and going to school.”
The junior business management major holds a 3.4 GPA and next year hopes to join four others in his family who have earned a college degree.
But before then, he’s got a summer on the mound in the Arcata Ball Park to look forward to.
Contact Diover Duario evenings at 707-441-0579.
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By Manny Machado/KIEM, News Ch. 3, Eureka
April 6, 2016
One of the newest members of the Humboldt Crabs is a former HDN pitcher. Hoopa’s Ronny Davis will call the Arcata Ballpark home this season.
Davis is a pitcher for the University of Antelope Valley. The junior right-hander has started six games this season going 5 and 3 with a 4.14 ERA. Davis has 38 strikeouts over 45 innings.
The Crabs begin play June 3 at 7pm against the South Bay Sliders. Two round-robin tournaments will be played during the season. The Crabs will also go on an extended road trip to Healdsburg, Cal Poly and to Redding in June.
A Crabs Fan fest will be held a day earlier. Only $5, tickets sold at the front gate starting at 5pm. Fan Fest will replace the season opening dinner this summer. It will include games for the kids, auction, raffles, autograph session, and a BBQ out in right field. Bring the kids and come watch the 2016 team take batting practice for the first time.
Watch the Ch. 3 News video, click link below: