Tabor College baseball coach Mark Standiford could see the short porch in right field beckoning at Adam McCormick every time he came up to bat.
But as McCormick’s coach, the all-time home run leader in Wichita State history had to work within reason when it came to his team.
“Before, he was a guy who would see that fairly short porch in right and, since he’s left-handed, was trying to pull everything,” Standiford said. “But we talked to him about just having patience, and now he’s a different hitter.
“That mental adjustment, in my mind, is what has allowed his average to jump over 100 points. Now he can hit the ball to all fields and he’s hitting for a high average.”
McCormick is certainly doing that – the senior third baseman from Pittsburg leads the nation with a .520 average and is third in the KCAC in hits (52), RBIs (38) and doubles (11). Tabor, No. 17 in the latest NAIA poll, is 31-5 overall and 15-1 in the KCAC.
“Coach Standiford started talking with me about hitting the ball the other way,” McCormick said. “And he worked with it on me in practice, he helped me develop that ability.”
Last week, McCormick was the NAIA national player of the week after blowing up for 16 RBIs, five doubles, three home runs and eight runs in a two-game sweep of McPherson.
”The guys around me have really opened up some great holes for me to hit,” McCormick said. “And that starts with the recruiting that coach Standiford and (Tabor assistant coach Pat) Hon have done. They’ve brought in guys who approach games with that business-like mentality. It’s all business.”
The first-place Bluejays take on second-place Kansas Wesleyan this weekend in a four-game series, with two games in Hillsboro on Friday and two games in Salina on Saturday.
McCormick was an honorable mention All-KCAC selection last season as Tabor set a school record in wins, going 45-14 and finishing second in the KCAC. But the Bluejays missed out on the NAIA National Championships by losing to Kansas Wesleyan in the KCAC championship game, giving the Coyotes the league’s lone postseason bid.
“He’s been there, he’s been a big part of helping us get to where we want to be,” Standiford said. “He was a big part last year and he’s been able to carry it over to this year.
“We came up a little short in (2011) and that was tough.”
And in contrast to the business-like approach that McCormick points out in his teammates, Standiford said he appreciates McCormick’s ability to keep the team loose … including some ribbing from teammates about his stocky build.
“He’s very laid back, really happy-go-lucky,” Standiford said. “He doesn’t take things too seriously … he gets kind of a hard time about his physique, but he’ll dish it right back out just as quickly.
“Adam is just a true baseball player, that’s his environment … he’s the kind of player everyone wants on their team because he stays within himself with his approach.”