It was one of those home runs hit so well the defense didn’t even move.
Myles Cordell’s laser beam to left field in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Maryville College baseball team to a series-clinching 6-2 win over Covenant College last Friday night.
It was the 10th win this season for the Scots. The four-RBI, walk-off grand slam was the fourth home run for Maryville’s No. 4 this season.
Baseball has always been a numbers game, and Cordell is putting them up at an All-American pace in his final campaign with the Scots. As Maryville (11-5) readies to host longtime rival Centre College in a spring break getaway game on Friday at 2 p.m., the senior shortstop from Gadsden, Ala., is currently second among Scots in average, hitting at a .355 clip.
“He’s a well-rounded player,” Maryville coach Daniel Washburn said. “To his credit, he’s committed to a more productive approach. Plus, he’s got good skills. Skills wise, he’s probably as good as anybody to come through here.”
Cordell’s .645 slugging percentage sets the tempo for a Maryville team with lofty postseason goals later this spring. A 14-of-15 success rate in stolen base attempts, a .461 on-base percentage, three triples, two doubles, a team-leading four homers and a Maryville-best 26 runs batted in is indicative of a player who can help a ball club in a lot of ways.
It’s something Cordell hopes professional scouts take notice of when the Major League Baseball Draft rolls around this summer. It’s why he’s at Maryville in the first place.
“My ultimate goal was to get drafted after I leave here,” Cordell said.
It’s no pipe dream.
A two-time Alabama All-State selection at Etowah High School, Cordell spent his first two seasons of college baseball at junior college powerhouse Walters State. After batting .300 with nine doubles, five home runs and 25 RBI for the Senators in 2009, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Cordell announced a verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
When the UNC-Asheville coaching staff was let go at season’s end, Cordell, with offers from seven other schools, said he remembered how badly Washburn had wanted him at Maryville.
“I called him and asked if he had a spot here,” Cordell said, “and he said, ‘Yeah.’”
Washburn was able to convince Cordell Maryville was the right choice because of the team he’d be joining.
Washburn has assembled a burgeoning South Region power the last two years, with a collection of junior college talent sprinkled liberally throughout. Led by senior right-hander Johnny Lingo — 3-0, 0.78 earned run average, Manatee Community College — Maryville has a 2.72 staff ERA through 18 games. At the plate, junior Cory Kopec is hitting for a sizzling, team-leading .442 average.
On the base paths, Maryville has four players stealing the place blind. Senior Zac Hargett (14-of-15), junior Blake Gentry (11-of-21), sophomore Mikee Moore (7-of-9) and Cordell are out front on a team that’s 63 of 74 in stolen base attempts on the year.
“Collectively, if he (Cordell) does his job and the guys do what they’re supposed to do around him, we’re going to be a good team,” Washburn said.
A collection of 13 seniors and 12 juniors leads a Maryville team intent on avenging last season’s Great South Athletic Conference championship game loss and reaching and advancing deeply in this spring’s NCAA tournament.
Maryville plays host to the Great South tournament April 29 through May 1.
“I think we’re playing well, but I don’t think we’ve played our best baseball,” Washburn said.
Neither does Cordell.
“My numbers aren’t where they need to be right now,” he said. “I have too many strikeouts. I think we’re a good team. I think we’re real solid. If we’re 13-5 and we’re not at our best yet, that’s good. If we’re 18-5 at the end of spring break, that would be very good.”
Opponents are taking different approach to Cordell this season after the Scots’ slugger turned in an All-South Region 2010 of 14 doubles, homers, an average of one RBI per game and 16-18 in stolen bases, Washburn said.
“He had solid numbers last year, so people are more aware of him,” he said. “So people are going to pitch around him and pitch him tough.”
Yeah, like Covenant in the bottom of the 10th last Friday.