MARION — Myles Davis isn’t a Marion High School student just yet.
Even though he hasn’t even taken his first class, the eighth grader and soon-to-be freshman has already made contributions to the varsity baseball team. Davis is fueled by a passion for the game that began when he was just 5 years old.
“I loved baseball from when I started watching my brother play and understanding the game,” Marion’s 14-year-old starting shortstop said. “I was always out there with my brother.”
Davis made an impact in Marion’s Wamac Conference doubleheader sweep Thursday night at home. He ripped five hits and six RBIs, helping the Indians thump Vinton-Shellsburg, 14-4 in six innings and 11-1 in five.
Davis went 5-for-7 in the twinbill, rapping a pair of one-run singles and adding a two-run base hit in the opener. He reached based all four times in Game 2, including a two-run double in the final inning.
“I felt like I hit well,” Davis said. “I was seeing it well out of the hand and driving the baseball.”
Steve Fish is in his 21st season as Marion head coach. He has had some eighth graders play roles — a base runner, spot starts for a lefty, maybe a late-game substitution. Fish said he hasn’t had a full-time eighth-grade starter and thought the last Marion player to do so was former Minor League Baseball player Alex Dvorsky.
“He’s going to be special,” Fish said. “He’s physical not mature yet, but he has a sense for the game you don’t really coach.
“He’s a treat to be around, too. He’s a very nice young man. He wants to learn and is very coachable. It’s a pleasure to have him.”
Fish said they decided to let him grow at shortstop instead of having him play a less demanding spot. Davis also hits in the No. 2 spot in the order, filling in at No. 3 occasionally. Fish praised his instincts, encouraging Davis to let them take over and not worry about the outcome.
“He’s got a great presence,” Fish said. “He’s a nice little player.”
Marion (3-7) has struggled in the early part of the season, but broke out against the Vikings (0-11). In the opener, the Indians tallied 18 hits with all but one starter getting at least one. Davis, all-stater Gage Franck, Owen Puk and Jake Trca had three hits apiece. Franck, Trca and Lucas Unsen scored three runs.
“We needed an opportunity to win,” Fish said. “Just to feel good about the start this year.
“It was nice to see us have a performance like we should have, what I would expect us to do. They did a pretty good job, especially some of our young guys. They are still learning.”
In the nightcap, Brady Johnson had a double and an RBI for Marion, which used five walks and two Viking errors for a five-run first.
Davis is part of a young roster that includes just two seniors, according to Fish.
“The future looks good,” Fish said. “In a short season, I think it’s good to get these guys out to play.”
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Payton Haefner and Brooks Erickson both had two hits and an RBI and Wes Mott added two hits for Vinton-Shellsburg in the first game. Erickson had two hits and scored in the nightcap.
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