Show Tavis Cummings a player’s batting average, and he’ll want to see his on-base percentage.
The Cross Creek baseball coach isn’t a number cruncher, but he looks at the important ones, and two in particular.
To get in his lineup, Cummings wants to see a good on-base percentage and a low strikeout total. Outs may happen, but if they do, it better be with the ball in play – anything can happen then.
More than a few Razorbacks succeeded with Cummings’ requirements, which helped catapult Cross Creek to a 23-8-1 season and a Region 3-AAA championship. Because of his team’s successful season, Cummings is The Augusta Chronicle’s baseball coach of the year.
“We’re patient but aggressive,” he said. “You can steal second, steal third and steal home, but you can’t steal first. We’re not going to go up there with a bat on our shoulders.”
Cummings, who played for Thomson High and USC Aiken, had a chart in the dugout this season. Players got points for accomplishments such as getting a hit or successfully getting down a sacrifice. In a perfect world, every player would score two points. If his team approached 15 points, it usually won.
Though the Razorbacks lost in the second round of the Class AAA state tournament, they often reached that number; in six state playoff games, Cross Creek scored 40 total runs.
Cummings isn’t satisfied. A region title is special, and so is a second-round appearance, but the goals are bigger.
“You want to win the whole thing. And I think it’s possible. I really do,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal. But the biggest thing is maintaining consistency. We can’t become complacent, and I’m not going to allow that. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we’re on our way.”