The Razorbacks went 23-8-1 a year ago, winning a region championship and reaching the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
Only a tough loss to LaGrange in the finale of a three-game series ended the season, and that LaGrange team then barely lost to Ringgold in the quarterfinals. Ringgold eventually became the runner-up.
With that kind of season, the days of getting run ruled were now long gone. The 2012 campaign showed Cross Creek was a threat, so now Cummings’ club wants even more as the baseball season is finally here. For the Razorbacks, they plan on opening their season at home against Screven County at 5:30 today, weather permitting.
“It solidified where we are and where we came from,” Cummings said about the region title and state playoff showing. “We have the ingredients and the formula. We now have to keep adding ingredients to it.”
Even with a young team this year, the Razorbacks expect success. They want to reach a level of consistency that marks the identity of some of the area’s best programs, like those found at Greenbrier, Harlem and South Aiken.
Though Jacob Lazenby and his .402 batting average and 13 wins are gone, Cross Creek will still have some dangerous bats as it competes in Class AAAA.
Cummings doesn’t expect much power in the order, but he’s OK with that. Cummings prefers offensive aggression, where base runners and hitters put pressure on the defense to hit the cutoff man or make the perfect throw. In such a system, keeping strikeouts down is more important than usual.
Junior Tyler Darnall, a pitcher and shortstop, should be one of the hitting threats. Darnall, who wants to hit .350, thinks last year’s run put the program on the map.
On the mound, senior Blake Miller will be the leader. Cummings will use Miller with confidence, deploying him under the expectation that he’ll get the outs, no matter when he’ll be used.
Like his coach, Miller hopes his team builds on 2012’s success.
“I think we’re pretty good,” Miller said. “We should win most of our games. We just want to add onto last year.”