Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ALL-FIRST COAST BASEBALL; Pitcher's Resume Speaks Loudly Bolles' Lumpa Spoke Up as a Freshman and Never Lost in Becoming State Champs' Ace

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ALL-FIRST COAST BASEBALL; Pitcher's Resume Speaks Loudly Bolles' Lumpa Spoke Up as a Freshman and Never Lost in Becoming State Champs' Ace

Article excerpt

Byline: HAYS CARLYON

Bolles pitcher Mark Lumpa was a freshman when coach Storm Davis returned to the school to lead the baseball team.

At one of the team's first practices, Davis had his younger pitchers show their stuff. With the session running down, Davis asked if anyone else pitched. A slight freshman donning catcher's gear spoke up.

"I pitch," Davis remembers Lumpa saying in a quiet tone.

The rest is area high school baseball history. The 5-foot-8 Lumpa went on to enjoy a sensational career, finishing with a 28-0 record. With Lumpa as its ace, Bolles captured two consecutive Class 3A state championships.

Makes you wonder how Bolles' fortunes might have changed had Lumpa not spoken up that day.

"We'd have lost 28 wins if he hadn't spoke up," Davis said. "That's pretty significant. He was this little, bitty kid and his older brother had caught. When he told us he pitched, I had to find a catcher to come back over. He was the last one to throw. We started watching, and I turned to one of the other coaches and said, 'This guy's not bad. He's small, but his stuff's not.' But I had no idea what it would turn into."

For Lumpa, the decision to speak up was an easy one.

"Growing up, I played everywhere but I also pitched at every level," Lumpa said. "I didn't expect this much success, but I wasn't going to stop pitching when I got to high school. I wanted to make sure I was seen by the coaches."

In his first year as the team's ace, Lumpa finished his junior season at 11-0 with a 0.82 earned-run average.

He amazingly surpassed those impressive totals this season.

Lumpa went 13-0 with a microscopic 0.63 ERA in his senior season. He pitched 78 1/3 innings, striking out 88 and walking 21. Lumpa earned the win in both the state semifinal game and state final, leading the Bulldogs to a repeat state title. For his accomplishments, Lumpa is the Times-Union All-First Coast baseball player of the year.

"It was a great feeling to do it again," Lumpa said. "I knew the team and myself came into the year with a huge target on our backs. But it was a new team. It was a different team, but we came together to become the first team at Bolles to repeat as state champs. …

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