Demopolis alum to play softball at MMI

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Former DHS softball standout Sara Davis will continue her softball career at MMI next semester.

MMI head softball coach Joe Guthrie watched Davis dominate in the circle for Demopolis High School. He wanted the standout pitcher to play for him then. That was the spring of 2008. But Davis was a little burned out on the game at that time and decided to pursue a less stressful college career at UWA.

After the decision to renew her career at East Central Community College last semester, Davis and Guthrie will finally get the chance at their union.

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“I was kind of surprised,” Guthrie said of the time he saw Davis play travel ball over the summer. “We had recruited her out of high school. When we saw her, it didn’t look like she’d lost much at all. For her sake, we hate that it didn’t work out at East, but selfishly we’re real glad that it didn’t.”

For Davis, the move not only brings her closer to home, it also allows her the opportunity to renew her relationship with Brittany McGee, a former DHS and West Alabama standout who now serves as the assistant coach at MMI.

“I’m very excited. East Central just turned out not for me. And I wanted to come back to Alabama,” Davis said. “I think it’s going to be better because I know Brittany and I like Coach Guthrie a lot. I feel like I’ll be more comfortable in Marion. And games won’t be so far away for my parents to come and see.”

While Guthrie is excited to get Davis — the first local player the fledgling program has signed — it is the other local connection his program holds that he credits for making the commitment possible.

“I don’t think Sara is as comfortable coming to MMI without her,” Guthrie said of McGee, a longtime friend of Davis.

“I know Sara’s talent and I know what a competitor Sara is,” McGee said.

Despite sitting out a season, McGee feels Davis can be very good for MMI.

“The first thing is she’s local,” McGee said, eluding to the hope she and Guthrie share that her commitment to MMI can help the school lay a pipeline to talent in the Black Belt. “I think Sara has gotten in better shape since high school. I’ll be her pitching coach. So I’m real excited to work with Sara and see what we can do. With what we have, I think Sara can complement it. We want pitchers that go out there and compete every pitch. I think Sara is going to end up playing a big role.”

“I think it helps us a lot,” Guthrie said of the signing. “It is something we’ve been trying to do for a couple years, not only landing (a local player), but landing one as good as she is.”

As for her role on the team, that has yet to be defined. But Davis, whose mobility has reportedly improved since high school, figures to have an opportunity to compete for time at first base as well as playing a vital role on the pitching staff.

“I think she can fill multiple roles for us,” Guthrie said. “If she does what I think she’ll do, she’ll be one of our better pitchers. I think it is just going to be a real good fit for us.”

“He didn’t tell me outright that I was going to start, but he said he knows I’m a good pitcher,” Davis said of the encouragement she has received from her new coach. “He said with me and (returning hurler Stephanie Lee) together, he’ll have a lot stronger pitching department.”

Davis will cut her Christmas break short, reporting to campus on Jan. 4 before beginning classes on Jan. 7. A sophomore academically, Davis is still in her first year of eligiblity athletically and will be able to play beginning immediately.