ELDER STATEMAN: Former ACCS pitcher wraps up senior season at Delta State
Published 12:26 am Thursday, May 26, 2016
Natchez — Former Adams County Christian School pitcher Jake Brumfield’s baseball career is over, and the former Delta State Statesman said life will be strange without baseball.
“Every day, for as long as I can remember, baseball has been the center of (of my life),” Brumfield said. “Baseball in college is a fulltime job. I put my socks on like everyone else, but I did feel like I should carry myself differently because I was a baseball player, and I had to represent (the program) well.”
Brumfield and the Statesmen were bounced in the final game of an NCAA Division II Regional final against Nova Southeastern. Delta State played a doubleheader May 23 and needed to take both games to advance to the Division II Championship. Delta State took Game 1 3-1, but fell in the rubber match 3-1.
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“One of our pitchers (Tre Hobbs) threw around 100 pitches (Friday versus University of Tampa),” Brumfield said. “He comes back Monday on three days rest and threw the best game all year. You can’t ask for anything more. Great guy, and I’m excited for him.”
Brumfield’s baseball career after ACCS has taken him from southeast Mississippi back toward the Mississippi River in Cleveland. Brumfield was a starting pitcher at Pearl River Community College before transferring to Delta State.
With the Statesmen, Brumfield found a new niche. The former Rebel said he had always been a starting pitcher throughout his career, but Delta State moved Brumfield to the bullpen where he could unleash the velocity on his fastball and throw his biting slider with a little more reckless abandon.
“The cool thing about being the closer is you don’t pitch every five days,” Brumfield said. “You’re hot and ready to go in all of them. As a competitor, it was great having something to go after every single day.”
Brumfield said heightened stakes of the closer role allowed him to feed off of the adrenaline produced from entering late in games, often with runners on base.
Brumfield said the “tunnel vision” and rhino-hided disposition of a closer is not something he had to develop. He said thick skin is a gene baseball players at must have the college level.
“A couple weeks ago (against West Georgia), we were up one run in the bottom of the ninth, and I came in with one out and a runner on second,” Brumfield said. “I’d been in big situations but not like that — tying run on second and three and four hole are coming up. Having the mental toughness to throw strikes in the hardest part … If you’re a baseball player and can’t tune things out ,you’re not playing at this stage.”
Brumfield said his senior season at Delta State was about competing for a championship. Delta State won the Gulf South Conference in 2016 before earning its berth in the Division II Regional. Delta State’s final record was 42-17.
Brumfield said for now he’s looking forward to some time away from the game. He said if asked, he would consider helping out coaching teams in the Miss-Lou area, but he’s finishing his final semester at Delta State this fall then going on the job hunt. There was some serendipity for the former Rebel this week. The day after Delta State was eliminated, the day after Brumfield’s career playing baseball ended, the team was fit for its GSC Championship Rings.
“I’m not saying it was the best way to go out, but it does feel nice to get that ring that I’ll be able to show my kids,” Brumfield said.