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Two-Way Threat Cassidy Davis Is Putting It All Together At FSU

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(Photo Courtesy of FSU Athletics)

Florida State coach Lonni Alameda isn’t surprised by the leap Cassidy Davis has made this season. When she recruited the versatile pitcher, she suspected Davis could be a special player.

Davis, a junior who leads No. 2 Florida State (25-2) with 24 RBIs after it wrapped up its non-conference with a 2-1 series win at No. 13 Arizona, was the top pitcher and hitter for Joe E. Newsome High School, on the outskirts of Tampa, Fla. She led the Wolves to their first female state championship in 2015, 12 years after the school was founded, and did the same with her travel ball team, leading the Tampa Mustangs to the PGF 16U National Championship later that year.

She arrived in Tallahassee a winner and added to her trophy case with a Women’s College World Series title last year.

“If you’ve been in winning programs from high school ball to club ball, it transfers into college for sure,” Alameda said. “If you haven’t, it takes awhile to get that feeling. She already came in with that winning mentality and that competitive mentality.”

But before this season, Davis hadn’t made the most of her potential.

Hamstring and other health issues held her back, resulting in a sub-.300 average in each of her first two seasons, and some up and down performances in the circle.

The Seminoles knew if she could put it all together, with her bat and her arm, she would be a unique asset for a team looking to build off its first-ever national title.

“She’s one of the top hitters on our team right now, and we’re using her on both sides right now, hitting and pitching, so it’s really awesome to see that,” third baseman Sydney Sherrill said. “She’s a team player. She always has been. She’s one of those girls who will do whatever it takes for the team.”

This spring, she’s hitting .373 with a .678 slugging percentage while starting 23 games.

More importantly, Davis, who has pitched 19 innings, provides an already powerful offense, which leads the nation in batting average and slugging percentage, with more flexibility. But in order for her to be at her most effective, she has to be able to do both.

That’s been the issue in the past.

For as much success as Davis has had on the diamond, she, perhaps, enjoys even more in the classroom. Finishing in the top 10 percent of her graduating class at a high school that has a 98 percent graduation rate, Davis was recruited hard by Stanford before committing to FSU. She’s currently a biological science major, and Alameda summed up her academics by saying, “If she gets an A- that’s a bad day for her.”

But as Alameda pointed out, it’s impossible to be perfect, especially in the batter’s box.

“She’s a smart kid,” Alameda said. “But the one thing about Cass being that smart, you don’t allow yourself failure a lot, and this is a game of failure. So we’ve just had to manage that part. In the last two and a half weeks she’s really taken a step up and done a real good job of trying to get after what she can do for this team.”

Once Davis figured out how to balance the lows and highs, she flourished.

Her offensive production is even more impressive considering FSU’s rigorous non-conference schedule, a necessary evil given the strength, or lack thereof, of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles already have more top-25 wins than the other 10 ACC teams combined. Their conference opponents this season have a record of 90-78, and none of them have ever made it to the WCWS.

“Our non-conference is tough,” Sherrill said. “For her to come out for the team, hold that average and hit like she’s hitting is huge, because we face such good pitching that not everyone is going to be on at the same time. She’s really holding us steady right now with hitting and then pitching, she’s coming out and doing that really well, too.”

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