Brumfield, Pearl River have hopes set on World Series bid
POPLARVILLE — Jake Brumfield and the rest of his Pearl River Community College teammates have one goal in mind: Win the Region XXIII title.
After falling short of a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges state championship last weekend, Pearl River is now looking to get to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series.
Pearl River got off to a good start in that quest Thursday, beating East Central Community College 12-1.
Brumfield, an Adams County Christian School alumnus, said this year’s team has been a pleasant surprise, as no one pegged Pearl River to do as well as it has.
“Coming into the season, we thought we’d be a defensive team,” Brumfield said. “We didn’t think we’d score that many runs, but our position players came up with a motto of ‘shock the world.’”
And Pearl River is averaging six or seven runs a game, Brumfield said. And since Brumfield is a contact pitcher, he said it’s extremely helpful to go out to the mound knowing his team was going to score runs.
“You always try to limit them, but it’s good knowing that if you do giveup runs, your team has a chance to get six to eight runs — or maybe even 12,” Brumfield said.
Brumfield also said center fielder Braxton Lee, right fielder Darius Knight and left fielder Kollin Cannon have been a tremendous help in saving runs.
“My team has absolutely backed me up with everything,” Brumfield said. “I’m not a strikeout pitcher, especially at this level. I think we have the best outfield in the state. Everything that (opposing batters) hit in the air gets caught. There hasn’t been one missed flyball this year.”
Prior to the season, Brumfield said he wasn’t sure what his role would be. When he got penciled into the starting rotation, Brumfield said he was happy to let his pitching help the team.
“I wanted to help the team as much as I could,” he said. ‘Our goal was to win state, which we fell short of, but now we want to win the regional and go to the world series. Whatever I can do to help is my goal.”
Brumfield’s repertoire includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, and having good command of all four pitches has been critical for him this season.
“I’ve been able to spot (my secondary pitches) a lot more than I have in the past,” he said. “That just comes with time and experience.”
It’s also been fun playing for Pearl River head coach Josh Hoffpauir, son of former Vidalia High School head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir.
“I always wanted to play for John Lee but never got the chance, so it’s good getting to play for his son,” Brumfield said. “Josh is a great coach.”
Having only played postseason ball one season in high school, Brumfield said he’s still adjusting to the big games in which his team is currently playing. But he said it was a great experience.
“My first big game was last weekend against East Central,” Brumfield said. “We were winning 6-5 when I came out but ended up losing 7-6. It was high intensity. I’ve never been as excited as I was last weekend, and that’s what baseball is all about, especially college baseball.”
Brumfield is the son of Stephanie and Spanky Brumfield. Spanky used to coach Jake on his pitching in high school, but Jake said those days are mostly behind him.
“He may tell me if I’m tipping a pitch after the game, but he’s done a good job of letting my coaches coach and just being a dad now,” Jake said.