Brett Cumberland is having a freshman year that is the stuff of dreams for most student athletes.
The former Turlock High Bulldog had no problem transitioning to the Division I collegiate level at University California, Berkeley after an intense offseason.
“When I first got here there were players who took me under their wing and I did extra hitting with them,” Cumberland said. “Whether its school, in life or on the baseball field, they told me what helped and worked for them and what hasn't and competing at this level. They really helped by sharing their experiences.”
It didn't take long for the former Turlock High Bulldog to earn his starting role as he solidified his position as the team’s catcher of the future, beating junior Mitchell Kranson.
“I would say it’s been a better year than I expected,” Cumberland said. “Coming into it I was competing for a starting job and I never expected that to happen. But it’s crazy, if they told me a year ago I would be starting then I would say they are crazy.”
Not only do his number's and consistency in the backstop speak for themselves but more importantly the team is winning and Cumberland says that the team chemistry is self-explanatory on why the team has been successful thus far, posting a 20-7 overall record and 7-2 in the Pac-12.
“The team is supportive and team camaraderie is one of the best and I think that is why we have been winning,” said Cumberland. “Most good teams say a lot to help but the things they do, it wouldn't be easy to do by myself and its awesome having them be so supportive.”
Cumberland's batting average is fourth on the team at .314 and he is also tied for second on the team in home-runs (6) and second in RBI (24).
While at Turlock, Cumberland batted .410 during his senior year and was also a three-time all-conference catcher en route to a perfect 15-0 season in league.
The next task for the Cal Bears is hopefully a Pac-12 title in one of the most competitive and demanding conferences in the entire country for collegiate athletics.
“The Pac-12 is known as one of the most prestigious conferences and it has lived up to the expectations from playing or from watching,” said Cumberland. “Every day we’re competing against the best talent in college that the United States has to offer.”
So far, Cal is tied with Arizona and Arizona State at 7-2 for second place. UCLA (8-1) is sitting nicely in first place.
“As long as we continue to do things we’ve been doing and not taking things for granted we are on our way to do well in the playoffs and win a Pac-12 title,” Cumberland said. “It will be possible and I think we have a good chance of doing those things.”
With such strong chemistry the team has been one of the most productive teams in nearly every category.
In the Pac-12 the Bears rank fourth in average (.295), second in slugging percentage (.457) and third in ERA (2.74).
“Everything is going as smooth as it will go your freshman year and its part of it,” Cumberland said. “A lot of the older guys say that we have more team chemistry and that's the difference I have heard. They help me a lot.”