A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jess Cummings
School: Northern (Owings, Md.)
Athletic achievement: Cummings led the Patriots (25-0) to their fifth straight Class 3A state championship this past season. She posted a 20-0 record with a 0.38 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 128 innings pitched. Cummings threw six no-hitters, including three perfect games, and held opponents to a .090 batting average. In 35 postseason innings, she allowed two earned runs on 13 hits with 57 strikeouts, including a four-hitter with 15 strikeouts in the state final.
Academic excellence: Cummings has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Northern High Key Club, she has volunteered with Christmas in April, which benefits needy senior citizens, and as a youth softball coach.
“Without a pitcher like Jess Cummings, Northern would not have held stronger hitting teams from scoring,” said Andrea Poffinberger, head coach of Linganore (Frederick, Md.), which lost to Northern in the state final. “She has great control of her pitches for a sophomore.”
THE FUTURE: Cummings will begin her junior year of high school this fall.