Mission Valley Mariners player Corbin Davis couldn’t have envisioned the world he created just a few short years ago.
Davis, who is in the last season of playing for the Mission Valley Mariners and now one of Williston State’s latest signees, was battling to earn his credentials with his American Legion team.
His first year as a member of the M’s B squad, Davis was still trying to carve his identity with the team, something that he admits required dedication.
“My first year (with the M’s) was when they started the B team, which helped give younger players experience,” Davis recalled. “We could get out there and play baseball, instead of sitting on the bench. “The first few years were tough because I moved around from catching to third to second and to the outfield. It was hard because you wanted to push yourself to be better. My first couple of seasons with the M’s was pretty hard, and I just had to tough it out.”
Davis continued to push himself, and eventually developed into one of the most reliable fielders and hitters on the M’s team.
“I was thinking I had to develop that mentality of working hard to strive to play college ball, and play somewhere to hone my skill sets,” Davis said.
Growing up in Ronan, Davis said he felt it would make it a harder road to make it in a competitive sport like baseball, but he continued to work hard and gradually carved his niche in one of the hardest games to make it in high levels in the United States.
“Growing up in Ronan, I had to work a lot harder to get to school and learn,” Davis said. “I remember sometimes my mom had to give us money on road trips and scrounge up change so we could get fed. That was the struggle for money more than paying the actual fees.”
Developing a mental edge
When Davis is struggling on the baseball diamond, he thinks of helping out by working on the potato row in Lake Farms in Ronan.
This summer, chores have helped Davis cultivate a mental edge in baseball, and it gives him a perspective on the game he wouldn’t have otherwise.
“Working on the potato row is more mental toughness than physical,” Davis said. “Working on the potato row will wear you down after two years. You start getting sore, your hands get blistered and it’s just a lot of manual labor.”
Nothing in the game of baseball phases Davis when he thinks of the mental rigors of working on the potato row, which is a chore he does helping out the Lakers in the summertime.
“The main thing it would help is with mental toughness,” Davis said. “We just have to keep grinding through the tough times, and when you feel like you want to stop, you just can’t (when you are out on the potato row). You just have to keep pushing through.”
The mental edge Davis has cultivated as a player translated into developing into one of the top-tier players on the Mission Valley Mariners, according to the team’s manager Tim Rausch, who is now in his second year of coaching him.
“Corbin has been great,” Rausch said. “This year especially, he has kept a great attitude, he is encouraging and defensively he’s done a great job. He continues to work on understanding baseball more than just hitting, and it suits us well. He’s doing a great job in all aspects. He caught last year, he played second base and we were making him throw. Then he moved to the outfield, and he has just done a spectacular job. He’s doing well in all aspects.”
Davis has worked hard to become the player he is, and he’s also become a model teammate, according to Rausch.
“I can’t say enough about the young man,” Rausch said. “He’s a coach’s dream. He works hard, he listens and doesn’t complain. His baseball IQ continues to grow. He’s just fantastic to have around the team, and is a real leader vocally and in terms of his abilities.”
His work ethic is second to none, according to Rausch.
“The kid works hard, and never backs down in the face of adversity,” Rausch said. “He makes me feel good about recommending him to a college program. He is a young man who I know is going to work hard and isn’t going to give up.”
Perhaps that mentality comes from being a member of the Boys and Girls Club, a place Davis credits developing his strong work ethic.
“In just my short amount of time with the Boys and Girls Club, it changed my life,” Davis said. “I made all of these connections with kids, and it helped me realize that I wanted to become a teacher. I owe that to them to know what I want to do with my life after high school.”
Back to the future
Davis, who signed with Williston State, an NJCAA school located in Williston, North Dakota, will now get his chance to play collegiate baseball.
Davis, like the majority of college players, has aspirations to play professionally but realizes he has to continue to progress to make those dreams come to fruition.
“It’s pretty exciting, and I am ready to go over to Williston and compete at a higher level than in American Legion,” Davis said. “Playing baseball at a higher level is a dream. I am just going to stay good and dedicated to work hard and come to play.”
Davis doesn’t plan on stopping playing baseball until the time is right.
“I am going to ride out my dream for baseball as long as I can,” Davis said. “I am going to Williston State and get my AA degree. I’ll transfer to a four-year university, get my teaching degree and become a high school calculus teacher while continuing my baseball career, and go as far as I can until it stops.”