Brumfield plays for late cousin at PRCCPublished 12:02am Saturday, April 5, 2014
NATCHEZ — When sophomore Jake Brumfield steps on the mound for Pearl River Community College, he does so with his late cousin, Tyler Brumfield, on his mind.
“Don’t get me wrong, everything I do is to glorify Jesus Christ,” Brumfield said. “But I’m also playing for Tyler. He wasn’t just my cousin, he was my best friend.”
Tyler Brumfield was killed March 9 in a two-vehicle wreck on U.S. 61.
Don’t confuse pitching as a way of an escape for Brumfield. He thinks about his cousin everyday, especially when he’s scheduled to pitch. Instead of using it as an escape, Brumfield pitches with more urgency, working toward accomplishing something he and Tyler dreamed of — playing at a higher level.
“I know he wanted to play and didn’t have the opportunity,” Brumfield said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to the next level.”
The “next level” isn’t far from Brumfield’s grasp, especially if he pitches like he did as a freshman. Pearl River head coach Josh Hoffpauir said Brumfield had one of the greatest freshman seasons in school history, posting a 9-0 record and a 2.82 ERA in 13 starts.
“I’ll put that freshman season up against any in school history,” Hoffpauir said.
As a sophomore, Brumfield has gained more command of his pitches, which is vital since movement is his specialty.
“Last year I tied the school record for most hit batters,” Brumfield said. “This year I’ve been working out more and gained more velocity on my pitches.”
Brumfield has a 4-2 record and a 2.77 ERA so far this season, and though his win/loss total may be down from a year ago, Hoffpauir believes Brumfield has improved as a pitcher.
“He’s always been our guy,” Hoffpauir said. “He had some tough breaks this year. Two of his losses were games he pitched really well in and lost 3-2 and 2-1.”
Hoffpauir said the team rallied around Brumfield through tragedy. And though March signified a rough month for the entire team, going 5-11 in that span, the team grew closer and picked up a hurting teammate.
“They made sure to keep Jake upbeat,” Hoffpauir said. “It was good for him to get back into his normal routine.”
At 17-14, Pearl River Community College needs to go on a winning streak to build momentum for The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College State Tournament in May.
The Wildcats will look toward Brumfield in a leadership role to pave the path, Hoffpauir said.
“Whenever he takes the mound, we know we have a good chance to win,” Hoffpauir said.