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Cumpton shines on Pirates' AAA team

New coach

Posted: June 5, 2013 - 12:12am

He might have got the promotion because of injuries and a depleted pitching staff in Indianapolis, but Brandon Cumpton is making the most of his opportunity.

The former Greenbrier High School and Georgia Tech standout was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. He began the season in Altoona, the Pirates’ Class AA Affiliate. However, after only two starts in Altoona, Cumpton was moved up to the organization’s Class AAA affiliate in Indianapolis.

Since arriving in the Hoosier State, Cumpton has shown he is ready to face batters at the highest minor league level. Through eight starts he has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.51 ERA. In 51.1 innings of work, he has allowed only 45 hits and has posted 42 strikeouts to just 18 walks, for a 2.33:1 strike out to walk ratio. Also, it gives him a solid 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and per nine inning stats are how the baseball experts break down a pitcher’s effectiveness.

Cumpton also is fielding his position well. He has two putouts and seven assists, and is yet to make an error on the season. The Pirates are enjoying a great start. They currently have the second most wins in all of baseball, but a call-up sometime this season is not out of the question for Cumpton if he can continue to put together quality starts.

New coach

I was happy to hear the Lakeside High School had named Brad Freeman its new head baseball coach. The former Evans High football and baseball standout takes the reins from Jay Matthews, who stepped down at the end of the season.

You might recall Freeman was involved in a freak accident as a freshman at Middle Georgia College where he had gone to play baseball. One day, while riding a golf cart onto the field, a rake that was on the back of the cart got caught in a fence and slammed into Freeman’s head. The metal rake penetrated Freeman’s skull, requiring emergency surgery. During the surgery, Doctors replaced a portion of his skull, but the area became infected, putting him back in the hospital for another brain operation.

One minute, you are preparing for practice, a freshman playing the sport you love, and the next minute you are having emergency brain surgery. I remember when this happened eight years ago, and recall feeling awful for Freeman. He was one of the players you pulled for. The coaches raved about him. His work ethic, attitude, and overall approach to the game was exactly what you wanted in a player. He attempted to come back while at Middle Georgia, but just physically was not ready.

In 2008, Freeman joined the baseball team at Paine College and had a productive career for the Lions. Now it is time for a new chapter for Freeman as he takes over a Panthers team that competes in one of the toughest sub-regions in the state.

Freeman was a star player at Evans, so he knows exactly what to expect facing his alma mater and state power, Greenbrier High, on a regular basis. After what Freeman has been through, facing those tough opponents game-in and game-out will be a walk in the park.

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