Starting pitchers are important, but closers and relievers are essential to a successful baseball team. This season, the Snappers most valuable pitcher was not the one who registered the most wins or started the most games, but rather someone who played numerous roles on the team. J.J. Crumbley, a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast, started, relieved, and closed games for the Snappers, and sometimes even played in the outfield before taking the mound.
"My experience this summer was awesome," said Crumbley, whose only specific goal besides reaching the championship game was to pitch well. "It was laid back, but we all came to the yard to work hard and play right."
Crumbley appeared in seventeen games, and finished the season with a record of 3-0 and five saves. He had the lowest ERA of the Snappers pitching staff, with an almost perfect 0.70. He gave up only two runs in all 25.2 innings that he pitched. He struck out 29 and allowed only two walks.
"He is unbelievable," said Snappers Head Coach Justin Varitek. "He is always here early, works hard, and does his running every day. I’m completely comfortable with him closing the game. He even hit well, and got some RBI’s. He is an all around phenomenal kid. As a coach, you want a team full of J.J.'s."
Crumbley is "a great kid, hard worker, and has an incredible arm", said Chuck Stegall, head coach of the Orlando Shockers. "It's not everyday you see a littler guy, such as J.J., with the ability to pitch as well as he can. I was impressed all year with his stuff on the mound and he can play the field and hit a little bit too. I’m just glad we had the lead in a couple games against Altamonte so he couldn’t come in for the save."
At Florida Gulf Coast, Crumbley, who is a Tampa native and attended Tampa Jesuit High School, has a career ERA of 3.30. Last season he finished with a 4-1 record in his 22 appearances, which included a complete game.
The Snappers will play for the league championship on Sunday August 6, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg following the conclusion of the Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays major league game.
Courtesy of Florida Collegiate Summer League