With his Round Mountain baseball team trailing 11-1 after the first inning of the Division IV state championship game, coach Jake Topholm didn’t offer a rally speech.
Emmit Davis had beaten him to it.
“He was in the dugout, keeping kids up,” Topholm said of the senior. “There were several games this year where we had to come back and he would talk to the kids out on the field and tell them that we’re not out of it.
“We were down 11-1, and then we came back to take a 17-13 lead. I think it showed a lot about all my kids.”
Although the Knights fell to Pahranagat Valley, 20-19, the 5-foot-10-inch pitcher and shortstop helped pilot the Knights (19-7) to the Division IV Southern Region tournament championship and their second straight state tournament appearance. On the mound Davis went 11-1 in league play, while maintaining a .550 batting average.
For his efforts, coaches named Davis as the league’s co-Most Valuable player. He shared the honor with Pahranagat Valley catcher Tyson Sparrow.
“Emitt is going to be irreplaceable. He is like having a coach on the field,” said Topholm, who was selected as Coach of the Year. “He’s a very hard-working young man, who gives everything he has on every play. He’s the type of kid that you wish you had 12 of.”
But in Division IV, there were few players who showed the plate discipline and overall understanding of the strike zone like Davis. Topholm said Round Mountain’s offense was centered on Davis, who consistently created run-scoring opportunities for first-team selections Mitchell Doheny and Serjio Chavez.
“He didn’t bail pitchers out by swinging at stuff out of the zone,” Topholm said of Davis. “He’d take two pitches, and it would be a full count. Then he would hit a shot into the gap. He’s very selective, and he’d wait for his pitch to hit.”
Topholm also labeled Davis as “the best pitcher in the league,” who honed his mechanics by playing summer ball every season since his freshman year. After transferring from Tonopah as a junior, Davis played with teams in Reno and Pahrump. Topholm said that experience accelerated his understanding of the game.
“He worked on his location a lot last summer, as well as his motion,” Topholm said. “He worked on slowing his bottom side down and pausing before he came home. He just does the little things.”
Davis plans to play college baseball in the fall, and has taken trips to both the College of Southern Nevada and Feather River (Calif.) College.
Sparrow was a fixture behind the plate for the Panthers, who earned their fourth straight state title. The senior had five RBIs in Pahranagat Valley’s victory over Round Mountain in the championship game.
Sparrow is joined by Pahranagat Valley teammates Caleb Hansen, Jake Carter, Tyler Higbee and Jeremy Minick on the first-team, along with Tonopah’s Tyler Gallegos, Andrew Snyder, and Seth Littlefield, and Indian Springs’ Mason Hamlin.