May 30, 2010 12:30:00 AM
Chase Davidson has seen Brach White make a difference in two years as the Pickens Academy baseball coach.
Pickens Academy is 40-10 in two years, including 17-6 and making it to the second round of the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state playoffs this season.
"We''ve won 40 games in two years compared to us winning nine games in three years before he came so he''s definitely helped us out," Davidson said. "He''s taught us a lot about the game.
"He keeps us fired up. He doesn''t let us quit."
Liekwise, White has seen Davidson make a difference for the Pirates in two seasons.
Davidson, a junior pitcher, has compiled a 17-1 record the past two years, including 8-1 with a 2.20 ERA this season.
"The last two years, Chase has been dominant on the mound for us," White said. "He''s lost just one game and won 17. He''s 17-1 in two years. That''s big-time stats for a small school. For any pitcher, that''s big-time stats."
For their roles in Pickens County having another successful season, Davidson and White are The Commercial Dispatch West Alabama Player and Coach of the Year.
Davidson, an MPSA All-State selection, struck out 111 batters and walked 21 in 64 innings to help Pickens Academy make a run at a state championship. The Pirates made it to the second round, where they were eliminated by Edgewood Academy.
"He does a good job when he''s on the mound," White said. "He''s going to give us a chance to win every time he''s on the mound. The one game he got beat, we didn''t play. We feel confident and the other kids feel confident when he''s on the mound.
"He''s a take-control type guy. He''s a power pitcher in this league. He''s going to strike out a lot of batters. He strikes out almost two batters an inning. We know we can win with him on the mound."
According to MaxPreps, Davidson had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the state of Alabama this season.
"He''s got a live arm," White said. "He''s able to throw that off speed at any time in the count. That makes his fastball look faster than it is. We''ll throw the curveball full count, we''ll throw it the first pitch. They don''t know when we''re going to throw it."
Davidson throws an 87 mph fastball, but he believes the curveball is his best pitch.
"The better batters I throw a lot of off speed pitches," Davidson said. "I''ve got pretty good control wth my curveball and then my fastball is pretty good. My curveball gets a lot of batters out."
Davidson played first base when he didn''t pitch and he also contributed with his bat. He hit .412 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and 14 RBIs.
Davidson also plays football at Pickens Academy, but he says baseball is his favorite sport and is the sport he''s best at. He started playing when he was 4-years old.
White, who is also the headmaster at Pickens Academy, has molded the Pirates into winners after being the basetball coach at Central Academy in Macon for 11 years.
White subscribes to the philosophy that practice makes perfect and he believes that''s why the Pirates have been successful the past two seasons.
"You''ve got to put them in a position where they can be successful and that''s by practicing," White said. "I feel like if they fail in a game, that''s my fault. You''re not always going to win, but at practice we work on things we''re going to do in a game. We don''t just go out there and go through the motions. We''re not going to get beat by the bunt because we work on bunt defense.
"I just prepare them for what''s expected. Nothing more, nothing less. We''re going to work evey day we go to the field. They know that."
Pickens Academy was ousted from the playoffs by Edgewood, but did win the first game of the best-of-three series to end a 20-game winning streak by Edgewood.
"We expected to be where we were, no doubt," White said. "We lost a few players, but we thought we could compete with all the pitching we had back and we did. We got beat by a team (Edgewood) that was better than us. We look to compete next year. We lose several players, but we''re going to compete."
White likes the Pirates'' chances of fielding a competitive team next season with Davidson returning to the mound.