By TREY WILLIAMS
David Crockett pitcher Jenna Davis’ anticipated breakout season was shackled by the coronavirus pandemic.
After an especially productive, if not grueling, offseason, Davis, a senior, was set to take over on the mound for Kara Weems, who has moved on to Tusculum University. Davis allowed three hits in a win against Volunteer in her opener.
And that was that. The season was suddenly postponed, and then gradually morphed into the surreal season that was not to be.
“I mean there’s honestly no words to describe how broken you feel, you know, when you work your whole life toward one season, and then in a week everything is just gone,” Davis said. “I had really high hopes for the season. We looked good in practice. All the girls were motivated and ready to go, and then it was just gone.
“I just kept on waiting for everything to kind of get back to normal, for us to get in school as of April 27th. But when that didn’t happen that’s when reality set in that, hey, this is gone. Everything I worked for – everything all seniors had worked for – was gone.”
Davis was Crockett’s lone senior. She played at University High as a freshman, and pitched against Crockett in a tournament in Erwin. She had to play junior varsity as a sophomore after transferring and went 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA while spelling Weems as a junior.
“I was really looking forward to her having a good season,” Crockett coach Carla Weems said. “I hated it for her. She’s a really good kid with a very good work ethic. I mean she worked hard at pitching. She went to a pitching coach. She worked on her own. She was real big into cross-fit. So she was always in shape and working to get better.”
Davis worked on her own with pitching coach Gary Lovette, who has a trained a number of Pioneers pitchers dating back to Megan Harmon, who signed with Tusculum in 2009.
“Gary Lovette was very instrumental,” Davis said. “He was my pitching coach and I pretty much went to him from day one. He’s made a great impact on my life.”
Davis also was quick to credit her parents, Jim and Natasha, for attending seemingly every practice throughout her life, as well as travel ball coaches Terry Burger and Chad Hope.
Davis would’ve made an impact on the mound and at the plate this season. She drove in 18 runs as a junior.
“She wasn’t a 60-mile an hour pitcher, but she had a lot of finesse and a lot of different pitches,” Weems said. “And she hit the ball well, was hitting the ball well to start out our season. Who knows what would’ve happened.”
Davis didn’t plan to play softball in college. She plans to begin college at Northeast State.
“I’ll never step away from softball totally, but as far as just being a player, I was done,” Davis said. “I have an interest in coaching. I’m going to be majoring in education. I’m going to be a kindergarten teacher.”
Davis appreciated playing for Weems.
“She’s there because she loves each and every one of us so much, and she loves the game,” Davis said. “Her passion and her drive to want to see us all get better (is admirable).”
Weems should field a solid squad in 2021.
“We have a very strong junior class, so I see bright futures for all of them – Alyssa Suits, Riley Hope, Mackenzie Baldwin, Aubri Burger,” Davis said. “I think Crockett will have a very good chance of doing pretty well next year due to the strong senior class.”
And the Pioneers’ lone senior of 2020 might get closure vicariously.
“I was ready to be there for my team and be that leader that they needed me to be,” Davis said. “We faced a lot of adversity. We had a bunch of players quit, but we were all ready to go. I had memories (to make) with those girls, and it’s losing all that. … We had great energy in the dugout, great attitudes.”
Weems is still digesting the bitter reality of her lone senior’s lost season.
“She was really excited about playing her senior season, you know,” Weems said, “being the No. 1 pitcher and experiencing the things you take for granted that now she’s not gonna have.”