Michael Brumfield refused to take full credit for helping lead his 2013 Warhill High School team to a share of the Bay Rivers District for the first time in school history. It had been four years with his friends, a legacy that ended in a historic state championship playoff berth.
So it makes Brumfield's success with American Legion Williamsburg Post 39 even better to look back on — he and five of his former Warhill teammates are still together, for a final time.
"It was the best feeling I've ever received to have been with Warhill," Brumfield said. "I couldn't have done it without the guys I was playing with. I've been playing with them for my whole life, it feels like. I don't know if I could have done it without them. And now I'm playing with some of the same guys here at Legion, so I feel the same feeling."
That means great things for Post 39 (13-0), which has cruised through the regular season so far. Brumfield, a pitcher who is 3-0 in starts, has 27 strikeouts and three walks, giving up only three earned runs.
Post 39 coach Tom Richardson said that Brumfield is just one of many aces he has in the rotation. Matt Smith, a sophomore at William and Mary, has struck out 39, while fellow Jamestown High graduate Sean Hughes hasn't given up a run in his past four starts.
Former Warhill pitchers Blake Wills and Blake Otey also have turned in shutdown efforts, while fellow Lions Tyler Klinedinst, Jordan Hackney and Thomas Richardson have impressed from the outfield.
"[Brumfield] is one of four," Tom Richardson said of his rotation, which has a combined ERA of 1.30. "We're so deep right now, it's hard for me to single him out over others."
Pitching regularly has been a blessing for the 19-year old Brumfield, who had been throwing with Thomas Nelson Community College for the 2013-14 season. Brumfield talked with representatives from Randolph-Macon, Virginia Military Institute and Mary Washington before deciding to commit to Marymount University last spring.
However, the university's high price tag convinced him to enroll in TNCC for the past year.
"Since [Marymount] is a private school, it's a lot of money," Brumfield said. "I didn't want to be in debt that much, so I decided to drop that and enroll in another school for a while."
After an academic year of taking on community college talent, Brumfield is hoping to play baseball at The Apprentice School in Newport News. Pending enrollment, Builders' coach Bryan Cave is "hoping more than anybody" that Brumfield can come into the program in time for fall baseball.
Brumfield batted .348 this spring for Warhill with 24 hits and 29 RBI, while going 11-1 on the mound, striking out 107 batters in 83 innings.
"He's had a pretty heavy workload over the spring and summer, so we'll take it easy on him and hopefully he'll step right in and be a contributor," Cave said. "We're certainly looking for big things from him on the mound."
With just a couple weeks until state American Legion playoffs, Brumfield is hoping to make memories with his one-time high school friends at Post 39. The team recently clinched its fourth consecutive District 3 regular-season title after beating Gloucester Post 75 11-1 at Warhill High School last Wednesday.
Post 39 takes on Middlesex Post 241 at Warhill High School on Tuesday night.
"Our pitching staff is incredible and all of our guys can go all game," Brumfield said. "We're all competitive, so we never want to leave."
Thackham can be reached by phone at 757-247-7422.