Valley senior Lumpkin returns to diamond after ATV accident
VALLEY — It was a breezy Saturday morning at Crestview Field when the Valley baseball team was scrimmaging itself in the final days leading up to opening day this past Monday. The Rams helped one another clean the field and place a tarp back over the pitcher’s mound at an expedited rate. Smiles and joy of the sport returning could be felt in the air for everyone, but perhaps no player was more excited than senior third baseman and pitcher Cody Lumpkin.
“It’s amazing,” Lumpkin said. “Getting out here, and doing what you love. When it’s something that you love to do, you enjoy it.”
Lumpkin missed the last two seasons due to injuries, one that he suffered on the field, and another suffered away from the game.
The athlete had a standout freshman season with the varsity team, highlighted by hitting a walk-off home run to left-center field against Handley.
“He was one of the leading batters on that team,” Valley head baseball coach Patrick Shivers said. “He was looking to be the same impactful player his sophomore year until he broke his hand.”
Early in his sophomore season, Lumpkin suffered a wrist injury that forced him to sit out for a large chunk of the year. In his time of missing action, Shivers made the decision to dismiss Lumpkin for violating a team policy.
In an attempt to show his dedication to the program, Lumpkin asked Shivers if he could help the team when Valley was hosting a tournament later that season. Shivers accepted Lumpkin’s request in a move that would strengthen his case to be accepted back on the roster for his junior season. The day before the tournament, Lumpkin’s mother texted Shivers that he would not be able to attend the event to help out.
“I got into a four-wheeler accident,” he said. “I broke my leg, and it put me out really bad. I split my shin right in half. There was major damage to the ankle too.”
He was at his friend Daniel Brumfield’s farm riding an ATV when he came around a curve and collided head-on with a truck. The accident sidelined Lumpkin for the entirety of his junior season. The doctor told Lumpkin that he was lucky enough to even survive the crash.
“It was definitely a scary feeling,” he said. “Thank God I’m back out here, and praise the Lord.”
The accident forced Lumpkin in one of the toughest situations that he’s faced as a student-athlete, not only physically, but mentally as well.
“It hurts, man,” he said. “It hurts a lot. Doing the favorite thing that you love, and then just losing it right in front of you, it hurts … They [the baseball team] won back-to-back area titles that I missed. I sat back and watched them. They’ve been doing great. I just want to get back out here and help these guys get back to where they belong, and hopefully win it all this year.”
Lumpkin and Valley return to the field on Friday to host Handley at 5 p.m. EST.