Even before they landed on the same Redmond High baseball team, the same College World Series-bound Oregon State squad and subsequently, the same All-Pac-12 team, Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis were quietly competitive companions.
The relationship between the Beavers’ sophomore outfielders is unspoken in many ways on the field. It’s one that might be better judged by back-to-back home runs than a conversation overheard in the dugout.
So in Game 2 of Oregon State’s NCAA Super Regional against Kansas State last weekend, with the Beavers facing elimination, that relationship spoke loud and clear.
Conforto slammed a home run to right-center field in the first inning, giving the Beavers a 1-0 lead. A jittery Davis was waiting in the on-deck circle.
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With a 2-1 count, Davis connected, sending a towering home run to almost the same location.
While the consecutive homers might have shocked Kansas State pitcher Blake McFadden, and a fair majority of fans at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, a few OSU fans had witnessed the spectacle before.
“They did that a number of times over the years, so it was fun to see that happen again in college,” said Mike Conforto, Michael’s father, a former Penn State linebacker. Michael’s mother is Tracie Ruiz-Conforto, the former Olympic synchronized swimming star.
“They want each other to be successful but each one wants to do one better than the next,” said Pat Davis, in attendance for his son’s first-inning home run.
The former Redmond stars lead Oregon State into the World Series, beginning with a game against Mississippi State at noon (PDT) Saturday in Omaha, Neb.
It’s not the first time the two have been together in Omaha. In 2007, their Northwest Diamond Sports team played in a tournament that coincided with the CWS. It was in Omaha where they were first introduced to Oregon State.
A few Northwest Diamond alums had played with the Beavers and Conforto and Davis, 14 and 13 at the time, were introduced to the OSU players.
“I just remember us standing there, waiting for the team to get back to the hotel, pulling in in the big buses and our sons just looking at that, thinking it’s really cool,” said Mike Conforto. “And now they’re going to be riding the bus into the hotel.”
Oregon State went on to win the 2007 College World Series, its second straight.
For Michael Conforto, it won’t be the first time playing in a World Series. As an 11-year-old, he represented Redmond North in the 2004 Little League World Series.
Davis had played on the rival Redmond West team but the two joined forces a year later. Fast forward a few years and they had become double trouble for KingCo Conference opponents, playing for coach Dan Pudwill’s Redmond Mustangs.
“You get sophomores into the program and you’re never sure that they can compete at the varsity level,” Pudwill said. “We realized we had something very special on our hands. Turns out we did, I think we won 17 games in the regular season their sophomore year.”
Conforto and Davis graduated in 2011 as two of the top five players in the state after helping Redmond finish fourth in the state tournament.
Saturday in Omaha, the Beavers seek their 51st season victory, a mark that would triple Redmond’s win tally when Conforto and Davis were Mustangs sophomores.
If it’s up to Conforto and Davis, OSU won’t have it any other way.
|Source: Oregon State University|
|Washingtonians in World Series|
|Oregon State, which begins play in the baseball College World Series on Saturday, has nine players on its roster from Washington, including former Redmond stars Michael Conforto, the Pac-12 player of the year, and Dylan Davis, a first-team Pac-12 star.|
|Pos.||Player||Year||High school||By the numbers|
|OF||Michael Conforto||Soph.||Redmond||Pac-12 player of year, .320, 11 HR, 45 RBI|
|OF||Dylan Davis||Soph.||Redmond||First-team Pac-12, team-best .343, 5 HR, 58 RBI|
|OF||Joey Jansen||Soph.||Kamiakin||.286 with 6 RBI in 42 at-bats|
|INF||Jerad Casper||Jr.||Tahoma||.167 with 11 RBI in 66 at-bats|
|LHP||Matt Boyd||Sr.||Eastside Catholic||10-3, 2.13 ERA, opponents hit .198; first-team Pac-12|
|RHP||Scott Schultz||Jr.||Gig Harbor||2-1, 2.03 ERA, 10 saves; Pac-12 honorable mention|
|LHP||Max Engelbrekt||Fr.||Bishop Blanchet||5-1, 1.30 ERA, five saves|
|RHP||Tony Bryant||Sr.||Kennewick||1-0, 1.76 ERA, allowed just 15 hits in 30.2 innings.|
|RHP||Taylor Starr||Sr.||Kelso||0-1, 3.94 ERA in 16 innings pitched|
Theo Lawson: firstname.lastname@example.org.