It was hard to find Evan Davis not doing something involving baseball. That’s just one of the ways in which Commerce baseball coach Steve Cotrell remembered the Tiger standout a day after his passing.
“He was a kid that if he wasn’t fishing or studying in the books, he was hitting or throwing a baseball,” Cotrell said Thursday (July 16). “He was one of those kids that put the team first.”
The 17-year-old Davis, a rising senior, passed away July 15 after a one-vehicle accident on Hwy. 98 in Madison County. Davis’ 17-year-old sister, Emma, was also in the vehicle but sustained minor injuries, according to a report from the Georgia State Patrol.
A July 16 community vigil at the Tiger baseball field was held to honor Davis.
“It’s one of those things where we’re just going to have to lean on each other, and do what we need to do to honor him and what he brought to the team, to his family, to his friends, just to everybody,” Cotrell said.
Davis, who was part of the Tiger baseball program since the sixth grade, was a standout on the diamond for Commerce. Davis batted .343 in the middle of the Tigers’ lineup this past spring. But he was never caught up in his own accolades, according to Cotrell.
“He wanted to please everyone and do everything he could do help,” Cotrell said.
The coach remembered a player who put pressure on himself to perform for his teammates.
“If he didn’t have a great game, or if he went into a little bit of a slump, he felt like he wasn’t doing what he needed to do to help the team,” Cotrell said. “He hit in the three-hole for us, so he felt like that he had to be perfect every at bat and he had to win the game every at bat. And that’s just kind of the kid he was.”
One of Cotrell’s lasting memories of Davis is how he handled early struggles after moving to that No. 3 spot in the Tiger lineup this season to become one of the team’s top hitters.
“It was almost like the lightbulb came on from him still being a kid to becoming a young man,” Cotrell said. “Not so much the game of baseball, but how he handled the adversity along with everything else. It never changed his attitude, it never changed his work habits, how he dealt with other kids and players.”
Cotrell said Davis, who also played basketball at Commerce High School, thought of others.
“He’s one of those guys, I’d get a random text, ‘Coach, how are you doing today?’ That’s just what he thought about people,” Cotrell said.
The coach said Davis’ death has been a struggle for a tight-knit Commerce baseball team.
“We’re all still trying to wrap our head around it,” Cotrell said. “We need to be there for the family and make sure we support them and help get them through this time right now.”
Cotrell said all his players “are like my own." Davis, he said, was “a great kid.”
“He walked the narrow path, man,” Cotrell said. “… He never got disturbed or followed-the-crowd type thing. Even the older kids, they’ll tell you that. Evan was going to do what he was supposed to be doing. That’s the type of person he was.”