RIVERSIDE -- Chalk up another one for adrenaline.
Despite having nine stitches in the palm of his throwing hand, senior pitcher John Davis tossed a complete game to lead Woodcrest Christian to a 6-1 win against Paraclete in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 baseball championship Saturday afternoon at UC Riverside. Davis struck out seven in a gutsy effort that he could only attribute to his competitive juices.
"I felt the pressure of the game," Davis said. "I had to buckle down and make pitches."
And nothing else mattered, not even the gash he suffered earlier in the week while diving back to first base. Davis baffled Paraclete's batters with a mixture of high fastballs and harsh breaking balls. It was more than enough for Woodcrest Christian, which made a short 15-minute drive here to win its second title in three years.
"This was one of the studliest efforts I've had a kid pull off in a long time," Woodcrest Christian coach Glenn Prater said. "He called me this morning and said he could pitch. I didn't know if he'd throw six pitches or six innings."
Davis surrendered only three hits after the first inning, making luxury of the 5-1 lead he was given after two frames. Parker Strebel's two-run double in the second was the backbreaker.
After the final out was recorded, Davis' only concern was that wounded right hand. He wrapped his arms around catcher Mickey Chupek and held on for protection as the Royals piled up near the mound. Some photographs will show Davis raising his right arm in an effort to avoid contact with his teammates' metal spikes.
"I knew he was iffy to pitch," Paraclete coach Lance Pierson said of Davis. "He has a thing called presence. He's determined and just won't let you beat him. He wouldn't let us get that big hit."
Top-seeded Paraclete, which traveled more than 80 miles to the Sports Complex, had a 21-game win streak on the line. It was snapped by a pitcher who paid no attention to pain.
"I had my doubts," Davis said. "I didn't even think I would play today."