TIFTON — Tift County’s Cameron Sumner will be heading west this winter.
While folks in Tifton hunker down for even a mild winter, Sumner will be nice and warm in Mesa, Ariz., where he’ll be participating in the Baseball Factory Pre-Season All-America Tournament. He and other players from around the United States will show their skills to scouts and college coaches from Jan. 15-17, 2021.
Sumner, who plays high school ball for the Blue Devils, is excited about upcoming trip.
“I have actually been to a few states out west with my family, but never to Arizona,” said Sumner in an email interview. “I am very excited to visit Arizona and see new things and play with the best talent in the U.S!”
He learned of his selection in August, when a Player Development Coordinator reached out after a scout saw him play in a World Wood Bat tournament in Atlanta.
Sumner will not just be playing in front of scouts and coaches. The All-America experience is more than that. As one of the selections, he will be getting personal instruction and a few perks, including his own player webpage. He’s looking forward to that.
“Getting a personal page with my numbers, stats and videos displayed is a huge plus for me,” he said. Sumner thinks it will be a nice boost for his future in a time where much of sports recruiting is still limited because of restrictions. “It allows college coaches to see me during a time with many restrictions because of COVID-19.”
He’ll travel west with Josh Haynes, who coaches him at Five Star National in Tifton.
“My parents are super excited, but want me to share the experience with Coach Josh,” said Sumner. Haynes has been his coach since he was 11. Sumner is a senior at TCHS.
He credits Haynes for developing him as a player as well as being one of his biggest supporters. “He has always believed in me even when I did not.,” said Sumner. “He helped me become the player I am now over many years of hard work.”
After playing in Arizona, Sumner will have a quick turnaround before the 2021 high school season begins. Georgia teams are hopeful of a full season this year after COVID cut the year short last March. Tift had a 2-0 region record at the time play was stopped.
“It was very disappointing that we didn’t get to finish what we started last season,” he said. Sumner especially felt bad for the Devils’ seven seniors who not only did not get an opportunity to play a final game, but also missed out on Senior Night.
Head coach Kyle Kirk turned the lights on at Devil Diamond for 20 minutes in April and hung the senior banners outside his home.
Tift is already working hard for next year, he said.
Sumner said Kirk has always encouraged him and his teammates to their best. “Ever since I joined the high school team, Coach Kirk has always made me earn my spot/playing time, which has helped me to continue to work hard and to continue to try to get better every day.”