116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Dylan Davis plans to enjoy the weekend.
He also expects his drive to turn the exhibition into a business trip among the players he has grown up with on the baseball field.
“It should be fun,” Davis said. “I’d love to say I’ll walk in there and just have fun but I’m a competitor. I want to win. Hopefully, I’m going to be competitive at the end of the day.”
Davis will compete for the Large-school East team in the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Series in Mason City, beginning Friday. Davis will cap his all-state career at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, earning Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division Player of the Year honors for the second straight year, sharing it with Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Alex Neal.
“Rarely do you get to coach a young man that is as naturally gifted as he is and that wants to work at his craft every single day,” Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer said. “He wants to be coached. He is a special talent and he wants to get better.”
Davis finished among the leaders of Class 5A in at least eight offensive categories. He led the entire class with 60 runs and was third with eight home runs. Davis ranked fourth in slugging percentage (.835), fifth in total bases (96) and on-base percentage (.575) and was sixth with a .461 batting average.
His 53 hits ended up eighth-best in 5A, while his 41 RBIs were 11th. Kirkwood Coach Todd Rima said he is anxious for Davis to join the Eagles this fall.
“He can really, really hit,” said Rima, who is a former Cedar Rapids Prairie coach. “To do what he’s done in that conference the last two years, it’s been a while since someone has put up that he’s had in back-to-back seasons.”
Rima sees a potential for his power numbers to increase in college. The Cougars’ multi-sport standout can concentrate on one activity. Davis said he progressed a lot from last year, hitting breaking balls better than as a junior when he hit .466 with 13 home runs.
“This year, I didn’t get that many fastballs,” Davis said about opponents’ approaches. “They were working me away. All off-speed. That kind of makes it hard on a hitter and starts to get annoying.
“Last year, 90 percent of my hits were off fastballs. This year, it was probably 75/25.”
Success is not a cause from one factor. Davis has an innate ability that generates great power with the ball jumping off his bat. His devotion to the game has elevated him above his peers. He spends four to five days a week in a batting cage. Sometimes it is a refuge. Just him hitting off a tee, getting away from the rest of the world. Davis spends at least three days in the weight room, building his strength.
“Work ethic is more important,” Davis said. “Natural ability can come to anybody but work ethic builds character. I’d rather work than sit on the couch and get what I want.”
Hoyer said there is a different side to Davis as a baseball player. The box score and the field don’t highlight his personality outside of competition.
“Most people wouldn’t know what a sensitive kid he is — how coachable he is,” Hoyer said. “Particularly in a one-on-one session. Also, how willing he is to help young kids improve their skills as baseball players. He’s been outstanding in helping kids at our camps (and) clinics over the years.”
Davis is joined on the large-school East roster by Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Brandon Vlcko and Noah Day, Clear Creek Amana’s Ben Swails, Independence’s Marcus Beatty and Decorah’s Tyler Keenan. The small-school East squad includes North Linn’s Austin Hilmer, Cascade’s Jack Carr and Tanner Simon, Dyersville Beckman’s Owen Huehnergarth, Anamosa’s Sam Wilt, West Liberty’s Caleb Wulf, Sigourney’s Levi Crawford, Keota’s Tyson Cota and Jesup’s Nate Cagley.
“We have a lot of talent in Iowa,” Davis said. “It should be a good time this weekend.”