March 24, 2010 9:58:00 AM
To East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery, a .350 batting average and .400 on-base percentage are ideal numbers for the second hitter in the batting order.
But Montgomery is getting much more production this season than that from sophomore right fielder Alex Lummus in the second slot.
Lummus, a 2008 graduate of Oak Hill Academy in West Point, is the Lions'' second-leading hitter with a .443 batting average and he leads the team with a .495 on-base percentage going into a doubleheader with Itawamba Community College today.
The left-handed hitter has also scored 25 runs to share the team lead, and as an extra bonus he''s tied for first with 23 RBIs.
"We did bring him in here as a two hole hitter to score a lot of runs and I expected him to have 25 runs scored, but I never expected him to have 23 RBIs," Montgomery said. "That''s 48 runs combined that he is responsible for scoring out of (a team total) 181 (runs). He''s over 25 percent of our runs scored. That goes to show you how important he is."
Montgomery likes for the No. 2 hitter to move base runners over by bunting and hitting the ball to the right side, but he hasn''t done that with Lummus because of the way he''s swung the bat.
The EMCC coach likes Lummus hitting second because he is a lefty and can hit the ball to the right side.
Lummus hasn''t been the prototype No. 2 hitter by knocking in runs, sharing the RBI lead with former Oak Hill Academy teammate Mitch Bohon.
"He''s hitting in the two hole and he''s hitting .443, which is what you want," Montgomery said. "His on-base percentage is .495, which is right at .500. But the biggest thing is he''s got 23 RBIs. Lummus is just supposed to be getting on base and scoring runs and he''s doing a good job of that. Him driving is so many runs has been the biggest surprise.
"He''s been an RBI machine, which you just don''t see to much out of the two hole."
Lummus has been one of the Lions'' leading hitters all season, hitting as high as .520 two weeks ago.
He said the ball looks like a beach ball when he''s in a hitting zone like he''s been.
"Whenever you step i the box and you''re in that groove and you''re hitting well, it doesn''t matter where the pitcher throws it or what pitch he throws," Lummus said. "You''re just ready to attack the ball. You just keep your weight back and wait to drive the ball somewhere hard."
Not only is Lummus hitting, but he''s playing a quality right field for the Lions.
"He''s got the best arm on the team in the outfield," Montgomery said. "He''s been able to get to some balls that some other guys might not be able to get to. He''s taken his eyes off the ball and made some small errors, but we can live with that as long as he keeps driving in runs and hitting like he is."
Lummus has helped lead EMCC to a 15-9 record, which is a vast improvement from last season when the the Lions were 11-37.
EMCC is 2-2 in the MACJC North Division and Lummus has high expectations for the team.
"We''re doing great," Lummus said. "Hopefully we''re going to win the North and win state. That would be nice.
"This is a very tight-knit team. I mean, everything we do is with each other whether it''s playing cards or going out to eat. All the players want to be with each other. It''s more like a family."
Lummus'' immediate goal is to lead the Lions to division and state titles, but he''s got his eyes on the future and he''d like to continue to play baseball after EMCC.
"Hopefully I can play at Mississippi State, which is 15 minutes away from the house," Lummus said. "It would be an awesome place to play. You''d get looked at by plenty of pro scouts.
"I really haven''t talked to anybody yet this year. I know (EMCC assistant coach Josh) Snider talked to an assistant coach at Mississippi State for me, but I personally have not heard from anybody."
Lummus knows Tyler Bratton, who is Mississippi State''s coordinator of baseball operations. Bratton is the son of Oak Hill coach Marion Bratton and was an assistant coach at Oak Hill when Lummus was a player.
Lummus, who is majoring in Wildlife Biology, loves the outdoors and he spent time hunting with Bratton and former Mississippi State players Mitch Moreland and Jeffrey Rea.
Lummus said he''d walk on at Mississippi State if it was his only option, but he wants to sign a college scholarship, preferably with a Southeastern Conference school.
If he keeps swinging the bat like he is, perhaps his dream will come true.