Summer Earnings

Spotswood Grad Irvine Honing His Craft With Turks

By Cody Elliott
Daily News-Record

Photo by Jim Sacco/DN-R

HARRISONBURG – Spotswood baseball coach Marcus Davis knew.

From 2014 to 2017, Davis coached Cameron Irvine as he grew into a Division I prospect.

“I absolutely knew that Cameron possessed the work ethic, skill set and pedigree to play Division I baseball,” Davis said. “Cameron has always possessed an innate ability to concentrate and focus, which is beyond most high school baseball players’ abilities. I had no doubt that Cameron would become something special in due time.”

So after Irvine committed to Virginia Tech as a preferred walk-on his senior year, Davis knew that it was just the start for the 6-foot-2, 183-pound former short-stop from Penn Laird.

“I received many messages from people shocked that Cameron had not only ade the travel roster at Tech but that he was playing regularly,” Davis said. “I can honestly say that I was not shocked at all. I knew that when Cameron was given an opportunity he would take full advantage.”

Upon his arrival in Blacksburg, Irvine made the switch from short-stop – a position that he earned All-3A West Region honors twice and All-Valley District at three times – to outfield for the Hokies.

The year started off strong, with Irvine making his debut Feb. 16 at Coastal Carolina.

Irvent went on to start in 22 games for Tech.

He started the year with three multi-hit games, including a four-hit performance against Wagner on March 6, but cooled off as the team got deeper into Atlantic Coast Conference play.

“My first year at Tech went pretty well, but could’ve gone better,” Irvine said. “I earned a decent amount of playing time, which was a positive. I got off to a solid start, but went through a slump towards the end of the year when I started seeing more ACC pitching. Over, I think I can take a lot of positives from it though.”

The struggles at the plate carried over into summer league play, where Irvine is spending his first year in the Valley Baseball League playing for the Harrisonburg Turks.

Irvine said that as the summer has progressed, he’s beginning to gain back the confidence he had while playing at Spotswood.

“I’ve been working to improve my swing to where I can hit balls harder and further,” Irvine said. “As the summer has progressed, I feel like I’ve been able to hit balls harder on a more consistent basis than I had been able to before.”

With the Trailblazers, Irvine batted .404 as a sophomore with 23 hits, eight doubles and 14 RBI.

As a junior, he batted an area-best .569 with 37 hits and 11 stolen bases.

His senior year, he was named a Virginia High School Coaches Association all-star selection after hitting .377 with 18 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

“He learned to be sound in the field and turned into a nightmare at the plate by the end of his high school career,” Davis said. “Cameron’s strongest traits, in my opinion, were his preparation and his work ethic. He always spent countless hours of his free time perfecting his craft. He seemingly loved and embraced the grind of perfecting his swing and taking as many ground balls as possible to be a great fielder. … Cameron was always ready to compete.”

Justin Showalter, who was the Virginia High School League’s 3A state Player of the Year in 2017 for Turner Ashby, is very familiar with Irvine.

The two played on various summer ball teams together before going to rival high schools.

Showalter, now playing at James Madison and pitching for the VBL’s Staunton Braves this summer, said the two have always maintained a mutual respect.

“Some days I would strike him out and others he’d hit me off the wall,” Showalter said. “He’s a tough out and one I’d always make sure to focus a little extra on when he stepped into the box. Now that we’re on rival teams in the Valley League, it’s awesome to get to continue that battle that’s been going on since we were just freshmen in high school.”

Irvine, despite the slow start, is batting .238 this summer with seven RBIs and 12 runs scored.

He said he came into the summer hoping to work on his hitting and is aiming for a starting spot in the outfield next season with Tech.

“This summer with the Turks has been great,” Irvine said. “It’s honestly great for me to be able to play in front of locals who know me. I truly believe that I’ve grown as a person and as a player so I like being able to show that to the people of this area.”

Irvine hopes to add some more power to swing next season, listing home runs as something he wants to hit more of.

He said he wants to improve in every statistical category on the field.

“Cameron is the type of young man that any coach is lucky to have,” Davis said. “His admiration and uncanny ability to fall in love with the process is special. Many coaches very rarely get to work with kids that take these meticulous tasks so seriously. He is a special student athlete and I am so proud to have been a minuscule part of his career.”