To most spectators, Blake Davey appeared battered and bruised, maybe even defeated during his senior season on the Newport Harbor High baseball team.
But he proved to be a warrior for the Sailors. There were injuries that would cause many players to leave the game, Coach Patrick Murphy said. But Davey kept battling.
The catcher developed a rough and rugged persona. He was also the player who the Sailors wanted at the plate with the game on the line. That goes for offense and defense.
Blisters on both feet, a cut on his left index finger and a gash on his right throwing hand tested Davey's motivation. Davey brushed those injuries aside and helped the Sailors reach unprecedented heights.
He was the leader for Newport Harbor, which reached the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the first time in 20 years. He also provided the game-winning hit that gave the Sailors a 3-2 victory over Roosevelt in the wild-card round of the CIF Division I playoffs.
Davey is the Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year, the top baseball competitor in the Newport-Mesa area. The award might help soothe his pain, yet Davey believes there really weren't any aches.
Against Roosevelt, he suffered the gash on his right throwing hand when a Roosevelt player slid into his tag at the plate. Some peroxide and tape helped stopped the bleeding. There wasn't any thought to bring in a substitute catcher.
"It was the first time we made the playoffs in 20 years," Davey said. "I wasn't going to leave because of a cut."
Davey instead finished strong in his final year with the Sailors. He helped Newport Harbor finish 17-11, 6-9 in the Sunset League. Last year, the Tars went 9-16, 4-11.
"He was definitely our leader in the locker room and in the dugout," said Murphy, the Sailors' first-year coach. "He was a leader by example and the voice we turned to. He anchored our offense … He was six for seven in our two playoff games … He had a cut probably four inches long. Most kids would pass the gear to someone else. That was the game he got the game-winning double. He just put some peroxide over it and wrapped it. Just a tough kid."
Davey, a Dream Team member last year, is planning to take that breed of toughness to the University of Arizona, where he'll be a preferred walk-on. He said playing in the Sunset League and against CIF Division I competition helped prepare him for the next level.
In addition, the importance of team chemistry came to his realization during his senior season. He credited Murphy and his staff with forming a unique team bond that led the Sailors to a breakthrough season.
Davey also gave props to former coach Evan Chalmers.
"I think Evan doesn't get as much credit as he deserves," Davey said. "We all played under him until this season. He prepared us. He definitely had a big part in this. He definitely got us ready for Sunset League baseball."
For the second straight season, Davey earned first-team All-Sunset League honors. He led the team with a .455 batting average. He had three home runs and 29 runs batted in, tying him for the team lead with Matt Carpenter.
"I was happy with this past season," Davey said. "It was just a big year. It was a collective success. We played well. We were better than ever."
The following is the rest of the Dream Team.
The senior pitcher made Eagles fans remember the Estancia 2010 team. He led the Eagles to their first league title since 1991 and to their first playoff appearance in 16 years. He was named the Orange Coast League's Most Valuable Player and its Pitcher of the Year. He went 9-3 with a 1.85 earned-run average, helping the Eagles go 17-11, 9-3 in the OCL.
He struck out 85 in 75 2/3 innings. He also finished with second-team All-CIF Division IV honors.
The sophomore infielder played varsity as a freshman, but broke through in 2010. He batted .356 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs, which tied him for the team lead. He was named Sunset League Rookie of the Year. Carpenter came up with some key hits for the Sailors, helping them in their turnaround season. He is one to watch for next season. Newport Harbor hopes he can continue to reach his potential.
The senior first baseman proved to be a consistent force for the Mustangs, who finished 14-14 and second place in the Orange Coast League at 8-4. He led Costa Mesa with a .386 batting average. He also led the Mustangs with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. He was named to the All-OCL first team for the second straight season. He plans to play for Orange Coast College next year.
The senior pitcher produced quite an encore after a stellar junior season. He was named the Academy League MVP for the second straight season. Last year, he shared the award. This is also his second straight time on the Dream Team. He led the Lightning to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs for the first time in school history. Wolfson's six home runs set a single-season school record. He batted .420 with 31 RBIs. On the mound he went 8-1 with a 2.24 ERA, as he struck out 69 in 62 1/3 innings. He earned first-team All-CIF Division VI honors.
Corona del Mar
The Sea Kings' senior catcher returns to the Dream Team for the second straight year. He finished the year with first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division III honors. He will continue to play at Trinity University, an NCAA Division III program, in Texas. Attyah was named to the All-Pacific Coast League first team. He hit .400 and led the Sea Kings in home runs (six), RBIs (29), hits (38), slugging percentage (.653) and runs (24).
The senior pitcher/outfielder battled back from a leg injury sustained during soccer season to help the Sailors reach the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. This is his second straight season on the Dream Team and his second straight year on the All-Sunset League first team. He batted .347 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. A standout kicker for the football team, Freiberg plans to play at that position at Colorado in the fall.
The senior utility player led the Newport-Mesa area with nine home runs. He earned first-team All-Sunset League honors after hitting .282 with 20 RBIs. He will continue to play at Princeton.
The senior catcher helped the Lightning turn in their best season in school history, as they went 20-5, 13-2 in league. He earned first-team All-CIF Division VI status, as well as first-team All-Academy League recognition. He hit .370 and led Sage Hill in RBIs (32) and doubles (14). On defense, he threw out more than 60% of runners trying to steal and committed only two errors.
The senior pitcher was highly instrumental during the Eagles' turnaround season. With DeFrenza, they formed the OCL's top pitching duo. He went 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA, striking out 50 in 37 1/3 innings. He also earned two saves and produced a no-hitter. He hit .267 with one home run and 10 runs batted in on his way to first-team All-Orange Coast League honors.
Corona del Mar
The junior pitcher went 6-4 with a 2.60 ERA for the Sea Kings. He also struck out 37 in 64 2/3 innings on his way to earning first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors for the first time. As a hitter, Morris went five for 12 (.417).
The senior outfielder delivered some big hits for the Mustangs this past season. He was named to the All-Orange Coast League first team after he batted .333 with six home runs and 31 RBIs. He plans to attend Orange Coast next year.
Corona del Mar
The junior center fielder quickly made his presence felt after a standout soccer season. He earned second-team All-Pacific Coast League honors. He was one of the top players for the Sea Kings. He batted .361 with 11 RBIs and two home runs.
The senior shortstop consistently produced for the Sailors on offense and on defense. He was named to the All-Sunset League second team after batting .395 with 14 RBIs and 10 doubles.