Brandon Cumpton was born to be a pitcher.
That's a safe statement, considering his high school career. The Greenbrier senior is 6-1 this season and just last weekend faced a high-powered Effingham County offense that outhit both Lakeside and Evans in the region tournament's first and second rounds.
Cumpton silenced that Effingham County offense with an 11-strikeout, two-hit performance in the Region 3-AAAA Tournament Championship.
His recent success isn't anything new. As an eighth-grader on the Riverside Middle School baseball team, he was an instant pitching ace.
"My first game I threw a no-hitter," he said. "They let me pitch all the time after that."
Riverside Middle went 12-0 that season, and Cumpton has been on winning teams ever since. He was a staple in last season's Class AAAA state championship run for Greenbrier. This year, he's doing it again.
"Every time he goes out and takes the mound it's incredible," Greenbrier junior Nolan Belcher said. "With his hitting and pitching, he's one of the most valuable players we've got."
His obvious value to the team doesn't stand out when he talks. Getting him to brag about his pitching is about as hard as getting a hit off of him - even after the complete-game two-hitter in the region finals.
"It wasn't bad," he said. "I didn't like how things went in the first inning."
After a walk and a single put runners at the corners, Cumpton balked in a run when his foot caught the mound. He settled down to allow one hit the rest of the way.
"That was huge. It got us going in the right direction," Greenbrier baseball coach Rodney Holder said.
With 60 strikeouts and an ERA near 1.00, Cumpton is one of the top pitchers in the state entering the Class AAAA state playoffs this Friday. Greenbrier will take on visiting Whitewater in a double-header at 4 p.m.
Cumpton will be on the mound, and Greenbrier will be the favorite.
"It'll take a lot of teamwork. We'll need to string together a few more hits," he said. "You can always get better."
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