|Riley and Davis enjoy the camaraderie with their teammates|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
April 21, 2006 - An All-State player and a back-up first baseman.
Seniors Josh Riley and Kiffer Davis have seen the ups and downs of a varsity baseball season but overall the team camaraderie is what they love the most about the game.
"I think the best part has been spending my last year here with a bunch of good buddies of mine, and I would much rather play with them than anybody else even if we don't make it as far as we would like," said Riley, the son of Clifton and Darla Riley.
"It has been great and we have all played baseball together since we were young. The camaraderie has been great and we are easy to work with and have fun," added Davis. "We believe in each other and know what we can and can't do in games and that is really cool."
Riley is having one of his best years at the plate this year with a .654 batting average in district play with 17 RBI and a .690 on-base percentage, but said the season started out slow for him at the plate.
"I started off slow. but I am starting to peak at the right time and it is all about timing. It is about the same as the season has gone for us," Riley said.
He said the Wildcats' experience following a playoff season last year in which they were swept by Mesquite Poteet in the bi-district round of the playoffs could make this season a whole different story.
"We started off a little slow and now we are starting to peak at just the right time. Like coach said earlier in the year, this is a marathon and not a sprint and we are peaking at the right time," he said. "It has turned out to be a pretty good season and I am looking forward to playing a lot longer this year."
For Davis, the season had a tough start after suffering an ankle injury prior to the start of the season and now being the back-up to Tyler Rhoades at first base has paid off in the games that he has played in this year.
He also was the starting pitcher in the loss to Mansfield during the championship game of the Corsicana tournament.
"It has been fun. I hurt my ankle at the beginning of the year which was a bummer," said Davis, the son of JaJan and Chris Davis. "This has been cool how we have been playing and this is a cool group of guys. It is cool to be on a winning team and to have the opportunity to play and practice with all these guys that are good enough to be out here."
With their record currently 18-5 overall and 7-0 in District 12-4A, both players said they felt it would be a good season and the results have shown.
"I don't want to get to big-headed about it, but we all believed that. I think it is cool, and we have played good ball and that we have played our hardest and we just go one game at a time," Davis said.
Riley gives credit to the pitching staff.
"I think that was the whole thing that we talked about this year as to who was going to pitch and if we would have the right rotation. We knew we had the bats but our pitching has really surprised me," he said. "Jayden (Spencer), Chance (Massey) , Jake (Broumley) and Alex (Aguilar) have done great and we have a chance to win with any of those four on the mound."
With only three games remaining before the start of the Class 4A playoffs and two of those games at home, Riley said these games will be important to him.
"It is always nice to be able to play at home but it really doesn't matter where we play," the senior said. "I love playing the game of baseball no matter where it is played, and these last two at home are going to be important to me."
With a year of playoff experience under their belts, Riley sees this year's Wildcats headed to one of the biggest sites for high school athletes in the state and would like to spend part of his summer at the state tournament.
"Straight to Austin - that is where I see it honestly. I think we can handle those Dallas-area teams along the way," he said. "Last year was a learning experience and now this year we are going into the playoffs knowing what to expect and hopefully we grasped last year pretty well and we are going to take advantage of that this year."