While describing the player that he called the best he has ever coached in terms of hand-eye coordination, Eddie Cornblum had to stop to correct himself.
“He didn’t even make an error last year in district at all — two years ago, I’m sorry,” Cornblum said pausing. “This last season, he made one.”
Cornblum, of course, doesn’t need the numbers to support his statement.
The Belton head coach can still vividly describe plays he saw Mark Herrington make in practice.
Like the time Herrington had his glove up for a ball to his left only for the ball to take a bad hop to his right.
“He would end up bare-handing it and throwing off the run,” Cornblum said.
After establishing himself as the best player on the Belton defense the past two seasons, Herrington is now the 2014 All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.
Herrington played varsity for Belton as a sophomore. His position for most of his life was second base.
He didn’t move to third base, where he earned first team All-District 8-5A honors, until last season when he was a junior.
“We needed to fill a spot and we threw him over there for a tournament and he ran with it,” Cornblum said.
Herrington said there was definitely a transition period moving to third base.
Fortunately, his new position catered to one of his strengths as a fielder.
“You have to react more to the ball and everything comes faster and quicker, but I kind of just got the hang of it and got more comfortable at third,” Herrington said. “It was just easier. It just kept on getting easier and easier as I practiced more.”
Of course, it also helps when you have what Cornblum called the best glove and hand-eye coordination of any player he has ever coached.
“He was able to just flow with the ball and the ball just dictated what he did and he just went with it,” Cornblum said. “He was really fun to coach.
“You didn’t have to worry about that left side of the infield much.”
And while Herrington said it was an honor to hear that his coach held him in that high regard, it was also a privilege knowing that Cornblum and his teammates felt they could count on him to take care of the left side of the field the last two years.
“It’s really just a good thing to know they can count on me,” Herrington said. “Our whole defense was good. They knew they could count on all of us.”