CHATHAM, NJ - Camryn Davies joined an elite club when she gained her 100th career hit for the Chatham softball team last week.
But the senior shortstop's legend was forged long before that when she was in second grade and playing Chatham rec baseball with her boy teammates. Davies had broken her arm during the season but managed to come back for the final game and got a chance to bat. The result was a one-handed swing that she turned into a double.
"When I was little, I played baseball and I had to hit with one hand because I had a broken forearm and I hit a double," she said. "I broke my arm four times in the same spot, but that time I did it playing soccer."
Anyone who has followed Chatham High girls sports over the past four years has likely seen Davies in action at some point. She's played varsity basketball and softball for all four years, and also played varsity soccer before deciding to concentrate on her other sports.
It seems fitting that she's closing out her high school career with her favorite sport, softball, and finishing with her best season to date, batting .430 with 34 hits, 20 runs scored and seven stolen bases from the leadoff spot in the order.
Camryn Davies is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.
"I think I've played more softball in the last three years than I ever had, so I'm getting comfortable in the game," Davies said. "I've also taken a leadership role and I'm finally comfortable with it, so it's coming together for me."
Davies is emerging from her shell at a good time for the 2018 Chatham team, which is in the midst of a youth movement.
"She has the perfect personality that you'd want as a leader on your team because she leads by example," Chatham softball coach Brian Figueiredo said. "You have captains say things on a constant basis and after time it can go in one ear and out the other. She leads by example every day and when something needs to be said, she says it and it really holds a lot of stock. She's tremendous in that way and that type of personality is going to carry her at the next level."
The youngest of three siblings, Davies was born into a softball family with her mother, Alexis, as a longtime player and coach, and her older sisters, Kelsey and Kendall, making their own marks in the game. The added incentive for Camryn in her run at 100 hits was that she could match her sister's accomplishment.
"Kendall got 100 hits and Kelsey didn't," Davies said. "I was trying to catch my older sister. There are pictures all over my house of my mom's old, old team and I'm probably three and I'm just sitting in the dirt with sand all over me. We're always watching softball and my mom is like, let's go out and practice. I enjoy it. My mom obviously passed on a passion for it and I just think it's fun. My family being such a big softball family has helped me become who I am as a player, and I really appreciate everything they've done for me."
Maturity has set into Davies' game this season and it's made a difference. And she's decided to continue playing next fall when she attends The College of New Jersey.
"You have to pay attention every minute and you have to have a clear mindset," she said. "If you don't get a hit the first time up, you have to just let it go. You can't let physical errors get into your head or you'll keep making them and you'll strike out. My mom is always yelling to me from the stands to let it go.
"I used to get so mad if I didn't get a hit, it would be so obvious that I was upset. Over the years, I've learned to let it go and it helps me. When I'm hitting, I'm thinking to attack the ball. I don't need to get a hit every time, I just need to hit it hard and try to make productive outs for my team. In the field, I do everything I can to help the pitcher get out of a tight situation."
The hitting has gotten Davies the attention this season, but she does a lot of the "little things" that make her a complete player.
"She just has incredible softball savvy," Figueiredo said. "I saw something today that I'm sure that she's done all year, but I never noticed it. She peeks in at our catcher to see what pitch is coming to position herself in the field. Those are the little things that she does. She knows how to run the bases. She's incredibly receptive to coaching. I know that she knows the game, but she's very respectful, even though she has a coach for a mom, that it's my team."
Her coach away from the Chatham team is her mother, and it's been a bond that has continued since those days when she was a toddler sitting in the dirt at a softball game.
"If I'm doing something wrong, I go home and say, 'Mom, please help me.' She's the first one giving me advice," Camryn said. "When I have a game, she'll go home after having done stuff all day and still go out and hit with me. She made me long toss with her to build up my arm strength. She always puts me first and I'm really lucky to have her."
The sisters often ask Alexis Davies who she thinks was the best of the three. She never gives an answer.
"It has been very special to watch Camryn the past three years as a parent instead of being her coach," her mother said. "I’ve enjoyed watching her develop as a player and see all her hard work pay off."
Chatham High Softball 100-hit Club
Alex St. Romain
Editor's note: The Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week is sponsored by the John Hawk Agency. John and his team have been protecting local families and business owners for over 12 years. Call them at 973-635-9494 for a new auto, home, life and business insurance quote this week and if you mention the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week they will make a $20 contribution to the Chatham Booster Club! To learn more, visit the agency website.