By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A career of ups and downs has made Jess Cummings one of the toughest players on the Penn State softball team, if not Penn State as a whole.
While nothing in her college career has gone exactly to plan, Cummings credits all the people surrounding the Penn State program to her success and to help her become the person and player she is today. They have supported her through multiple years of injuries, which in a way have made Cummings much stronger. After pitching a combined 184.0 innings in the first three years of her career battling injuries, Cummings has fought through pitched 154.0 this year alone.
"It's really given me a new perspective on it and enjoying the moments and enjoying it rather than being completely like consumed with the end result or getting really frustrated. I think I've been able to find the joy and happiness and just be more grateful for the moments as opposed to my perfectionist personality taking the joy and fun out of it which it may have if it hadn't been shown how lucky I am to be playing."
Head coach Amanda Lehotak has described this team as a bunch of fighters all season, and none can truly fit that description more than Cummings. Lehotak thanks the seniors for all they have brought to the program and what they have made it today.
"These seniors are the ones who have changed our program," Lehotak said. "You won't always see it on the stat sheet but behind the scenes in the dugout in the locker room. That's got to be culture wise and they are going to be so greatly missed."
Throughout her tumultuous career Cummings has not always been the go-to pitcher on the pitching staff. This year however she has been placed in that role alongside Madison Shaffer. Cummings had a team high six wins, as well as 24 starts in the circle while making 40 appearances.
"I don't think I have a specific moment (that sticks out)," Cummings said on her favorite memories in Happy Valley. "I think when I look back on it or when I am talking about it when I'm older will be the people. I think that I have a group of friends and especially the upperclassman like Gianna that I am graduating with and the juniors that will be part of my life for the rest if my life. There are people that I can count on for absolutely anything from the illness and injury so I think I am going to be able to value the relationships that I formed with them than like a specific moment or pitch."
"It's the goal every day, it makes it more special as just a memory to just remember it," Cummings said following the win. "Obviously the win was just fantastic but really it's just going to be the memories of just getting to play and fight with the 18 other people that I've gotten to play and fight with all season and finally get the win that I think that we've deserved."
The relationships formed and the people met will stick in with Cummings forever. While they have impacted her life she has surely made an impact on theirs as well.
"I've talked with Tori (Dubois) a lot about it and we both said we are going to need to cry before Senior Day so we are able to take the field. But I am very sad about it, a lot of people are ready for a break when they are done, I wish that I could do it for another 113 games. It's really difficult and I'm really upset about it but I am really grateful for the four years."