22 for 31: Davie baseball player shatters World Wood Bat record

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Coy James’ stats from the 17U World Wood Bat Association tournament in Atlanta are so blindingly awesome that you’ve got to wear shades to look at them.

He went 22 for 31, good for a .710 batting average. That’s ludicrous. Making his 12-game performance all the more impressive, the Canes were playing in their biggest tournament of the summer. There were 467 teams in the field.

“I’ve been lucky and coached a lot of professional guys – Anthony Volpe, Corbin Carroll, Jo Adell, Wyatt Langford, some big-league hitters – and Coy is as advanced as I’ve seen as a hitter in high school ever,” Canes coach Jeff Petty said. “The power is really real, especially with his setup. He doesn’t really have a lot of moving parts in his swing, and how he generates so much power has grabbed a lot of scouts’ attention.”

James’ rampage included five doubles, four home runs, 17 runs and 15 RBIs as he shattered the WWBA record for hits. The old mark was 17. His game-by-game numbers: 1 for 2, 4 for 4 with two doubles and a homer, 0 for 3, 1 for 2, 2 for 3 with two homers and four RBIs, 3 for 4, 3 for 3 with four RBIs, 2 for 2, 1 for 2, 1 for 1, 2 for 3, 2 for 2. Wild.

“It didn’t matter – offspeed, fastballs inner part of the plate, outer part of the plate,” Petty said. “If it was over the 17 inches, he was going to punish it. He’s got power to center field, power to right field, he’s got pull-side power. And like I said, he generates all that with not a lot of moving parts in his swing. Usually that’s kind of what scouts are looking for. When a guy has a lot going on in his swing, there’s more room for error and more room for swing-and-miss. And he just doesn’t have that. It’s a short, compact, simple swing that generates a ton of power.”

As if James’ bat isn’t enough, he’s a speed demon on the bases and he plays elite defense at shortstop.

“He’s a very good base runner,” Petty said. “He has a good feel. He’s aggressive with a lot of feel for stealing bases. He’s an explosive runner and it really correlates well with his lateral movement in playing shortstop. And he’s got arm strength to go with it. The ball goes in his glove. He’s a very good shortstop.”

As far as the Canes go, they’re an absolute juggernaut. In a span of 23 days between Raleigh, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Atlanta, they went 25-4-1, including an 11-1-1, runner-up mark in the WWBA tournament.

The massively talented rising senior at Davie verbally committed to Ole Miss a while back, but there’s a good chance he’ll never play college baseball. It won’t surprise anyone if he’s picked on day one of the 2025 Major League Draft.

“I think he’s a no-doubter called in the first round,” Petty said. “If the bat keeps doing what it’s doing, it wouldn’t shock me if he’s in the first 10 picks. I know that’s a bold prediction, but that’s what I think from the standpoint of the bat.”

Enough can’t be said about James. Not only he is on track to be the next big thing out of Davie County, he’s one heck of a kid.

“He’s such a good kid,” Petty said. “I had my 6-year-old son on the trip and multiple times I saw Coy playing catch with him. He’s a good teammate. He’s engaged. When he’s not up to bat, every single time he was on the railing with me and our hitting coach. So he’s not sitting back. He’s on the railing locked into what we’re doing and asking questions. He’s just a baseball rat. He’s a special one.”

James is the only Davie player to ever record three .400 seasons. He hit .409 as a freshman, .451 as a sophomore and .413 as a junior.

“I would imagine he doesn’t get pitched to in high school,” Petty said. “With us, there’s no sense in walking (James) because then you’ve got to deal with another guy who is really good.”