Orange County

Davidson, Givens grew up with Orange and go out as champs

Orange catcher Mia Davidson (left) talks with starting pitcher Kristina Givens (right) during an April 28, 2017, game.
Orange catcher Mia Davidson (left) talks with starting pitcher Kristina Givens (right) during an April 28, 2017, game. The Herald-Sun

Mia Davidson and Kristina Givens have shared a lot playing softball together and on Saturday they won a state championship.

They’ve been Orange’s most important tandem – Givens pitching and Davidson catching – for the past three seasons. Each year from their freshman season on, they’ve gotten better. And as they’ve gotten better, so has Orange.

“It helps so much because we know each other so well,” Givens said. “We know how to help each other. We’re like sisters.”

Givens appeared in seven games as a freshman in 2014, but posted a 2-0 mark. She went 7-3 as a sophomore before posting a 21-4 mark as a junior. As a senior, she’s posted a 22-3 mark including a win in Game 2 of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A softball championship to seal the title.

Davidson burst on the scene also as freshman in 2014, belting 12 home runs and finishing with a .522 batting average while catching for the Panthers. There was no sophomore slump either, as she hit 11 home runs and compiled an incredible .729 (35-of-48) batting average. As junior, she chased the state’s career home run mark and got to within three by the end of the season with 18. Her average also increased again to .740 as she went 37-of-50.

Davidson wrapped up career in dramatic fashion, having hit the game-winning home run on Friday night against Piedmont in Game 1 of the state championship series at N.C. State’s Dail Stadium. She was walked three times in Game 2.

“When we play loose, we play better,” Davidson said. “She pitched her butt off (on Friday night). It’s been great catching her.”

Reaching the title series has been like climbing a mountain for Orange with Givens and Davidson leading the way.

As freshmen, they were bounced in the first round of the state playoffs. They came back even more determined as sophomores but saw the Panthers improve. This time it was a second-round loss that ended their season. As juniors, they led Orange to the third round but ran into their nemesis from the previous season – C.B. Aycock.

Their senior year put them back on a collision course with Aycock. But this time the game was on Orange’s home field for the first time, and the Panthers took a 3-2 win that sent them to the 3A East regional championship series against West Brunswick.

Orange faced elimination after losing 8-5 in Game 1 at West Brunswick but rallied to win twice when the series moved back to familiar territory for the Panthers on their home field. Coming back to win those two games 7-4 and 5-1 sent Orange to its first title series.

Orange coach Eddie Davidson said Givens and his daughter have been so easy to coach.

“Kristina’s pitching has really kept some good teams off balance,” Eddie Davidson said. “She and Mia have been together for a long time. They know each other so well, and Mia can help her make little adjustments that make a big difference. It’s all come together at the perfect time in their senior year.”

Givens and Davidson have been intertwined since middle school when they first played pitch and catch. But after Saturday, their playing days together are over.

Davidson will be off to Mississippi State to join her sister Montana, who also was an standout out Orange. Givens will be putting down her glove and heading off to nursing school to pursue an education in health care.

They’ve been inseparable as competitors, almost like sisters on the diamond.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6889, @HPreps