When Argyle hosts Celina at 7 tonight for the District 10-3A title, senior third baseman Davis Coghlan will step to the plate as the Eagles’ leading hitter. But unlike his teammates, he won’t be going home afterward.
Instead, he’ll hop in the car with his parents and head to Texas A&M-Commerce for the University Interscholastic League Class 3A Region II academic meet. He’ll swap his bat and glove for a pair of calculators and attempt to advance to the state meet.
For many people, his weekend would seem more strenuous and stressful than what a typical weekend is supposed to feel like.
But Coghlan doesn’t fall into that category. Coghlan not only leads the Eagles in batting average (.533 as of Monday), he leads his entire graduating class in grade-point average as Argyle’s valedictorian.
And when it comes to Coghlan’s character, Argyle coach Ricky Griffin can only smile and gush with positive things.
“He’s golden,” Griffin said. “He really is. You hope, when you have a kid that talented athletically and he’s like that in the classroom, you almost expect that. His parents have obviously done a great job. Athletically, I get to reap the benefits. The UIL academics coach gets to reap the academic benefits.”
Coghlan’s itinerary for the next two days includes a baseball game at 7 p.m., which means he’ll get to his hotel in Commerce somewhere around midnight and be up at 6 a.m. for the academic meet that starts at 8 a.m.
Last season, Coghlan couldn’t find his way into the starting lineup. This year, he’s been the baseball team’s offensive catalyst.
“First of all, I’m kicking myself for not hitting him last year more than I did,” Griffin said. “We gave him a few pinch-hit at-bats, but we had no idea that he was going to do that this year.”
Griffin said Coghlan has anchored the middle of a lineup that’s propelled the team to its 24-3 overall record and 6-1 district mark. When Coghlan started the year hitting well, his head coach hoped it wasn’t a temporary hot streak.
“He just hasn’t ever cooled off,” Griffin said. “He’s been able to hit the off-speed pitch as well as the fastball, which is something we didn’t think he was able to do last year, which is why we didn’t give him more time.”
His approach at the plate is far different than his approach when he’s taking timed tests for the math team and the calculator team.
“At the plate, you try not to think,” Coghlan said. “You just try to rely on muscle memory, I guess. And while I’m taking a test, I’m obviously thinking pretty hard.
“I guess in baseball the trick is to not think too much. Sometimes I’ll have that problem — just overthinking and getting into my own head.”
It’s a head covered in short, blond hair and a face that looks a little young for a senior. That’s because he’s 17 and started school early.
Coghlan is a member of Argyle’s mathematics team and calculator application team. He didn’t plan on becoming a part of the academic teams. But once a teacher discovered his knack for geometry after his freshman year, Coghlan was nudged in the right direction.
Coghlan’s parents let their young son read a lot, and he played many math-related computer games. Of course, there was a little baseball mixed in.
His UIL coach, Cliff McCurdy, said Coghlan is the fastest worker in the calculator portion and second-fastest in math.
When asked if there was a subject he struggled with, Coghlan paused before saying he was “terrible” at art, a class he took as a freshman.
He finished the year with a high B — the only B he said he’s ever received in high school.
Along with his excellent memory and ability to process things quickly, McCurdy said, Coghlan will do what is asked of him.
“It’s ‘What do you need me to do today?’ and he’ll do exactly what you want him to do the way he’s supposed to,” McCurdy said. “He doesn’t seem to get nervous. He might internally a little bit, but he’s just a great kid. I think the coaches say exactly the same thing.”
The baseball coach and the math coach were in agreement regarding Coghlan’s character and work ethic.
Coghlan’s teammates will chide him occasionally when things don’t go his way. They joke that the senior should be able to see angles from the ball that no one else sees.
Coghlan said Argyle assistant coach Jeff Harp jokingly calls him Neo, the whiz from the The Matrix.
Teammate Jared Byer said Coghlan is known more around school as the valedictorian and not as the best hitter on the No. 4 team in Class 3A, according to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
“I admire him for it,” Byer said. “He’s talented at two things. It’s just who Davis is.”
He doesn’t plan on playing baseball much longer. Instead, he’s planning on going to Texas to study mechanical engineering.
“The math stuff, it’s just going to help me down the road,” Coghlan said. “Baseball is to have fun. It’s almost a stress reliever, playing baseball.”
After most of his teammates cleared out of Argyle’s indoor practice facility Tuesday afternoon, Coghlan grabbed a bat and stepped to the plate.
His head coach sat behind a black protective netting and tossed underhanded pitches to Coghlan.
No matter how well he did or didn’t hit the ball, he kept his head down and looked off to the side, never looking to see where the balls ended up.
It’s like he already knew where they were headed.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.