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Greenbrier stars shining in pro ranks

Greenbrier stars shining in pro ranks

Posted: May 26, 2012 - 11:08pm

Former Greenbrier High School and Georgia Tech standout Brandon Cumpton has made a nice transition to professional baseball. Cumpton helped guide Greenbrier to state titles in 2006 and again in 2007 before he moved on to play for the Yellow Jackets. He was a ninth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 after three seasons at Tech.

After a rocky start last season, in his first full year of pro ball, Cumpton has been arguably the most consistent pitcher in the entire Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He is following up on his solid rookie campaign with more good work on the mound this year.

The 6-foot-2 right-hander leads his team, the Altoona Wave in victories with five. For the season, he is 5-4 with a 3.81 ERA (tops among the team’s starting rotation). In 54.1 innings of work, he has 32 strikeouts and only 13 walks.

The walk total is significant. Early last season, Cumpton struggled with his location. Since he has regained his control, he has been outstanding. He is currently in AA, but if he continues to put good outings together, it would not be impossible for Cumpton to get a September call-up by the Pirates.

Poythress on mend for foot

Rich Poythress was a four-time all-county performer during his prep career at Greenbrier.

The slugging first baseman helped lead the Wolfpack to the 2006 state championship and went on to have a tremendous college career at the University of Georgia.

Poythress was the first player chosen in the second round of the 2009 Major League draft and quickly established himself as a prospect to watch by hitting .315 with 31 homers and a professional baseball best 130 RBI in his first season of pro ball in 2010.

This season, Poythress is in Jackson, Tenn., playing for Seattle’s Class AA Jackson Generals. The team is 27-19 and in first place in the Southern League’s North Division, but Poythress is on the shelf. He fractured his foot back on May 8, and is currently in Arizona going through rehab. He should be back in the next week or so.

Through 31 games, Poythress is hitting .259 with only one home run and 18 RBI. While his home run total and batting average are down, he does have 10 doubles and an on-base percentage of .357. Also, he has only struck out 14 times in 128 at-bats.

As I have always said with Rich, give him time and he will hit. He has done it at every level, and Double-A will be no different.

Griffin-Ortiz III

Evans native Forrest Griffin (18-7) will step back in the octagon July 7 for UFC 148 in Las Vegas. His opponent will be UFC legend Tito Ortiz (16-10-1). The two have squared off on two previous occasions and will complete the trilogy at UFC 148.

Ortiz won a narrow decision in the first matchup, and Griffin returned the favor with a split decision victory in the rematch. Now the two, who have made no bones about their disdain for one another, will get to settle once and for all who the better fighter is.

Griffin became a star when he appeared on the first season of the UFC’s reality show, Ultimate Fighter. He won the show’s championship bout over Stephan Bonner in a fight UFC President Dana White has called the most important fight in UFC history.

The extremely popular Griffin went on to become the light heavyweight champion when he defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in July 2008. However, since that time he has dropped three of his five fights, so he will try to get back on track with this matchup of heated rivals.

Ortiz also has something to prove, having lost his past two fights. However, more important than that, Ortiz has announced that this will be his last bout. The 37-year-old will retire, win or lose. Incidentally, Ortiz made his UFC debut in Augusta in 1997. He beat Wes Albritton in the first round at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center that night at UFC 13.

The crowd will be heavily in favor of Griffin, who is one of the most loved and popular fighters in the UFC, while Ortiz is the organization’s “bad boy,” who has often rubbed fans the wrong way.

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