Preps: Donelson Christian Academy baseball lacks star power, shines nonetheless

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:06pm

With its roster stocked with low-profile type players, Donelson Christian Academy’s baseball team once again appears to be headed in the right direction.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of those players is senior centerfielder Daniel Mathis, the Wildcats’ leadoff hitter.

“Daniel makes us go,” coach John Berti, now in his 24th season, said. “He’s our leadoff hitter and sets the tone for us offensively.

“He sings choir, which takes a lot of his time, and he also takes AP and honors classes. He may be the most talented and most versatile player I’ve ever coached.”

Mathis is one of five seniors on a team tht hopes to follow the footsteps of the boys’ basketball team, which won the DII-A state title earlier this month. Others are shortstop Brett Wolfe, number-one reliever, cleanup hitter and third baseman Jamison Manning, outfielder Blake Mitchell and outfielder/pitcher Jared Goodman.

Going into Thursday’s game at Davidson, the Wildcats were 4-0 through the first two weeks of the season, thanks in good part to their usual allotment of strong pitchers.

The ace is junior Jamie Young who pitched a two-hit shutout over five innings (he also had three hits) in his first game, a 10-1 win over Webb. Doug Jones pitched a one-hitter in an 8-0 victory over Webb.

“Jamie is answering the challenge of stepping up as our ace,” Berti said. “He worked out with the football team all summer to build up his strength and conditioning.”

Standout sophomore catcher Will Reddick powers the offense. He is hitting .500 so far while handling a solid pitching staff.

“Unlike some of our previous teams, we have a lot of guys who aren’t superstars. They are just average kids who are working hard,” Berti said. “It’s guys like Daniel who, even with his heavy workload, hustle and do what each of them can to help us win.”

Florida bound: For the eighth straight year, DCA is taking both its baseball and softball teams to Florida over spring break.

After home games with Prattville (Ala.) and Central Christian on March 31, the two teams head South. They will play South Walton (Fla.) April 2, Freeport (Fla.) April 3, then Somerset (Ky.) April 4.

“It’s something we’ve started doing and stayed with it, because everyone seems to like it,” Berti said. “Both the baseball and softball teams play at the same locations, so one team can cheer for the other. Normally, the softball team finishes first, so the girls come over and cheer for us.”

Sports ambassador: Scott Oatsvall recently was chosen to be ambassador for the AAU Sports United Diplomacy Program and last week hosted a sports visitor exchange visit to Nashville from a group from South Africa.

Oatsvall, the spiritual life director and a coach at Franklin Road Academy, is also coach of an AAU team that won several 12-under nationals last summer.

Ten male and female South African coaches visited the U.S. for a 10-day basketball program. After a visit to Washington, D.C., the group came to Nashville and stayed for a coaching clinic and a practice, which Oatsvall conducted.

“It was a special time, getting to meet some wonderful people with different cultures,” he said. “The game of basketball teaches so much about life, and we were honored to be a part of the Sports United Diplomacy Program.”

His West Nashville Sports League team A4O (Athletes for Orphans) was chosen to be a part of the program for its success on and off the court. He was picked as coach due to his role as an adoptive father.