During his second season at the helm of the Wetumpka baseball program, coach Michael Dismukes brought the Indians their first area championship since 2008.
Wetumpka also put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2011after finishing the 2019 season with a 25-13 record. Dismukes is the Elmore County Baseball Coach of the Year.
“I knew we would have a chance to be really good,” Dismukes said. “With our senior leadership, they made it easy for our young guys to fill in and feel comfortable.”
Wetumpka opened the season with three road victories including one at Spain Park. The Indians continued to build on that strong start, moving to 12-3 after the first month of the season.
“When we got off to a quick start, I knew we could be a contender in the area and really into the playoffs,” Dismukes said. “They wanted to win and wanted to work hard for it. That showed up in their training and preparation for every game.”
During the week leading up to spring break, Wetumpka grabbed wins against Creekwood (Tennessee), Madison Academy and two-time defending state champion Sweet Water. The Indians upped their record to 15-5 and moved into the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 6A rankings for the first time.
Wetumpka debuted at No. 6 in the poll before coming in at No. 8 for the two following weeks. The Indians finished just outside the top 10 in the final rankings.
“After two years, we’re probably further along than where I thought we would be,” Dismukes said. “It’s still not where we want to be though. We want to be a contender in the playoffs every year. We want a chance to play for it all.”
Wetumpka won its area with a sweep of Stanhope Elmore to clinch a home playoff series but the draw was never going to be easy. Despite holding a three-run lead and needing one out to advance to the second round, Benjamin Russell came storming back and ended Wetumpka’s season one day later before eventually advancing to the 6A quarterfinals.
“It’s definitely still disappointing,” Dismukes said. “The goal was always to win the area and host a playoff series. The way we lost was just gut wrenching but you have to use that as motivation now. Knowing we can still be better is going to be our focus.”
Dismukes said that mindset has to begin with the coaching staff. The players have shown the willingness to buy in to what Dismukes and his staff have been teaching and it is evident even from outside of the program.
“He’s a great guy and his players see that,” former Stanhope coach Wes Dunsieth said. “They responded to it and it really paid off for them. You could see his team put in a lot of hard work to get where they are.”
After suffering through five straight losing seasons, the Wetumpka program appears to be heading back in the right direction. The Indians have one state championship in their past (1983) but Dismukes has them believing it will not be long before they can grab another trophy on the diamond.
“I feel confident we’re only going to get better,” Dismukes said. “We have to keep that roller coaster on the incline though.”