By Anthony Rhoads
As Kyle Davies grew up playing baseball, it was his lifelong dream to play professionally.
From youth leagues all the way through high school and in the prestigious East Cobb youth program, Davies had a special talent for the game.
Last Friday, Davies completed the 2003 season with the Rome Braves, Atlanta's Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
Davies, a 2001 Stockbridge High School graduate, was the starting pitcher in the South Atlantic championship game and even though he didn't get a decision, he pitched seven solid innings. He struck out six and walked only one batter.
Rome went on to win the game and the league championship.
"It was great," he said. "It was a lot of fun. Rome was a fun place to play baseball. They have a beautiful stadium and the fans were great and they treated us really well."
Davies was glad to have the chance to play close to home this year. Last season, he was with the Danville (Va.) Braves in the Appalachian League.
"Everybody could come see me pitch this year,' Davies said. "It was just a lot of fun and I had some good times this year. I could come home when I wanted to and that was great."
Davies ranked among league leaders all season in strikeouts and ERA. In the final league standings, Davies was second in strikeouts with 161 and posted a 2.77 ERA, eighth-best in the league.
Davies' strikeout-to-walk ration was nearly three-to-one this season.
"Kyle has always been a very good control pitcher," Stockbridge head coach Bill Pate said. "He pitches very hard but he has great control. We're all very proud of Kyle; he represented our area very well. I followed him all year and it was awesome."
Davies is now at home working for his dad and is following a workout regimen recommended by the Braves.
In October he will be traveling to Florida for two weeks to participate in a training program. After that, he will continue to work out on his own until spring training.
"I'm just working and working out trying to get stronger for next year," Davies said.
Davies hopes to move up to the Advanced Class A level next year.
"I want to be in Myrtle Beach next year in the Carolina League," Davies said. "They're moving me along slowly because they have so many pitchers in the organization."
Matt Murton update: Former Eagle's Landing High School and Georgia Tech standout Matt Murton batted .286 with two home runs and 29 RBIs for the Lowell Spinners in the short-season New York-Penn Class A League.
"It's a tough lifestyle but he's enjoying it," Eagle's Landing head coach Blake Lyons. "I'm very proud of him. He's a fine young man from a fine family. He's the cream and the cream rises to the top."
One highlight this summer for Murton was working out with Carl Yastrzemski, the legendary former Boston Red Sox outfielder.
Jason Perry update: Former Jonesboro High School and Georgia Tech standout Jason Perry had a successful year with the Modesto A's in the California Class A League.
He finished with a .305 batting average, four home runs and 26 RBI. He began the year with the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League but was traded during the season. He batted .304 with one home run and 17 RBIs in Dunedin.