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San Diego’s Sultan of Swing : Rumsey Only 2 Away From Prep Home Run Record

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It probably won’t be too long before Danny Rumsey becomes a prominent figure in the San Diego Section CIF baseball record books.

The Mount Carmel High School right fielder has 11 home runs and 35 RBIs, both county-leading figures, to go along with a .445 batting average. Rumsey needs just two more homers and 10 RBIs to set San Diego records in both departments. The standards were set by Granite Hills’ John Goulart, who had 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 1982.

“It’s gonna feel good,” said Rumsey, a right-handed hitting senior, in anticipation of breaking the records. “I’m gonna know I did it. It’ll mean quite a bit to me. It’ll mean I was the best home run hitter ever.

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“And I’m not gonna stop when I do it--I’m gonna keep on. That’s more incentive to keep the record buried.”

Rumsey has been death to opposing pitchers all season. Of his 26 hits, 18 have been for extra bases (he has four doubles and three triples).

Rumsey hit three homers in a game against El Camino. He would have had a fourth had he not tripped while rounding second base, and subsequently had to settle for a triple.

The field at El Camino doesn’t have any fences, but it isn’t as if Rumsey hit grounders that eluded outfielders. His blasts would have been homers anywhere. He hit one ball an estimated 450 feet.

“I tatered that one,” Rumsey said. “I can hit ‘em that far, maybe farther. I’ve got good power.”

El Camino Coach Doc Balderrama would agree.

“He has a nice, sweet swing,” he said. “That’s what impressed me the most. We tried to throw him off-speed pitches, and he hit those.

“He’s one of the best high school hitters I’ve ever seen.”

Rumsey hit a solo homer and grand slam against Palomar League-rival Vista in an early season game. That made an indelible impression on Panther Coach Mike Sanchez.

“He has a lot of confidence, No. 1,” Sanchez said. “To be a successful hitter, you’ve got to believe in yourself. He has a nice stroke and good bat speed. He’s real aggressive at the plate.

“He knows what he’s doing. A lot of high school batters you can get out because they don’t have a purpose. He does.

“Rumsey is up there as far as power is concerned. Anytime you hit more than 10 homers in a high school season, you can get the ball out.”

Mount Carmel Coach Sam Blalock also has high praise for Rumsey.

“I’ve never had a hitter who’s hit this well,” said Blalock, in his 11th year at the school. “I’ve had kids who’ve hit for average, but never with this much power.”

Blalock, like Sanchez and Balderrama, points out that Rumsey has a short, compact swing. However, much of Rumsey’s power comes from his being an avid weightlifter. Rumsey lifts four days a week, and looks as if he could step in and help the Sundevil football team.

“He’s the strongest kid on the team,” Blalock said. “Danny is one of the strongest kids in the school.”

Said Rumsey: “It (weightlifting) builds strength and coordination. I’ve lost some flexibility, but not a lot. It’s worth it.”

Interestingly, it was an injury that launched Rumsey weightlifting pursuits, which in turn have made him blossom in baseball. He was a sophomore football player at Poway (Rumsey’s family moved to Rancho Bernardo after his junior year) when he hurt his knee and was lost for the season.

What began as rehabilitation for his knee evolved into the strengthening of his upper body.

“I had nothing to do, so I figured I’d start weightlifting,” Rumsey said. “Now, I’m pretty much into it.”

Surprisingly, while Rumsey is enjoying his home run hitting status, he says he’s not trying to drill the ball to Escondido every time he steps to the plate.

“I just try to hit the ball hard,” he said. “Coach Blalock has helped me a lot with my hitting. He’s shortened my swing, so I don’t have an uppercut. I hit the meat (of the bat) every time up.”

Well, not every time. Rumsey says he was “slumping” last week--he went 2 for 7 with a homer and three RBIs.

“I was a little impatient,” Rumsey said. “I wasn’t waiting for my pitch. I could’ve waited for better pitches.”

Rumsey is obviously obsessed with his offensive exploits, but he’s far from being a selfish player.

“Danny does what he needs to do to make the team win,” said Blalock, whose Sundevils lead the Palomar League with a 4-1 record and are 11-6 overall. “He has a team attitude. He helps the team anyway he can.”

Rumsey says he wants to lead the Sundevils to a CIF championship in his final year of high school ball. There’s also one more thing he’d like to accomplish.

“I want the triple crown (leading the county in homers, RBIs and batting average),” he said. “I think I can do it. It’s possible.”

‘It’s gonna feel good. I’m gonna know I did it. It’ll mean quite a bit to me. It’ll mean I was the best home run hitter ever.’

--Danny Rumsey


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