A Champion’s Tribute: Sumter Gamecocks

3A Champion: Sumter Gamecocks

By: Brooks Shumake and Austin Alexander-May 22, 2006

Brooks Shumake just concluded his ninth season as the head coach at Sumter High School. The program has flourished under his leadership as the Gamecocks have been ranked in AAAA’s top ten each of the last five seasons en route to a 172-97 record during his tenure. The Gamecocks have been in the State Playoffs every year since 1998, mostly defeating teams that were ranked higher than them. They were the District VI Champions in 2004 and 2005 and were the Lower State runners-up last year. During that stretch they won Region Championships in 2000, 2005 and 2006. The Gamecocks broke through with a 4A State Championship this season to cap their recent success in South Carolina. More than fifteen of Shumake’s players have gone on to play college ball, including Ryan Hub (Clemson), Jason Ross (South Carolina), Tripp Cappelmann and Chris Eaves (The Citadel), and Nick Touchstone. Sumter Baseball has long since been one of the most respected programs in the Palmetto State, now they sit atop the highest classification as State Champions.

Shumake’s Take: The 2006 Gamecocks started the season striving for their number one goal of winning the Region. With returning pitchers like senior Allen Caldwell (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 21 K in 12.2 IP) who is pictured above, junior Tyler Christman (3-1, 0.68 ERA, 36 K in 31 IP) and junior Josh Montgomery (5-1, 2.19 ERA, 18 K in 35.2 IP), the prospects of having a solid year were very good. However, the Gamecocks didn’t realize that the injury bug was going to strike hard for the first year since I’ve been here. Caldwell had arm problems early, and then broke his leg in the middle of the season, not returning until the last three games in the State Playoffs. Christman and Montgomery also were sidelined at times with arm issues. That left the pitching responsibilities up to sophomore starter Matt Price (9-2, 2.07 ERA, 53 K in 61 IP), pictured left, and senior Tyler Cappelmann (6-0, 0.44 ERA, 51 K in 48.2 IP), pictured right. They carried the torch for the others. The Gamecocks took care of the Region Title first and then won District VI. Then we defeated Spring Valley in the Lower State Championship and Dorman in the State Championship to finish the season with eight straight playoff victories. We were led at the plate by Caldwell (.491, 12 2B, 3B, HR, 16 RBI), junior Travis Witherspoon (.330, 5 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 13 SB) pictured left, Price (7 2B, 4 HR, 27 RBI) and Cappelmann (.307, 4 2B, 34 R). Our defense was tremendous and just didn’t make many mistakes on the field. They were really a very focused group who believed in one another. This club backed up their record setting 27-5 year in 2005 with a history making State Championship 25-6 mark for the Sumter High School Gamecocks!!!! It was truly a team effort and the spirit and will for the young men on the SHS Baseball team to win was rivaled by no one in the year that was a year of destiny for the Gamecocks!  

For more information on Sumter, click 1  2  3.