Ummel leads T-Birds to split against No. 8 Highland

Freshman pitcher Jordan Ummel
Freshman pitcher Jordan Ummel

CONCORDIA, Kansas — Cloud County Community College freshman Jordan Ummel had the best afternoon of her young softball career Wednesday, helping the T-Birds earn a split against No. 8 ranked Highland Community College in their first KJCCC East doubleheader of 2017.

Ummel carved up the Scotties lineup, which had exploded for 15 runs in a 15-1 win in Game One, as she tossed seven shutout innings, scattered three hits and struck out a career-high seven hitters in Cloud County's 2-0 shutout in Game Two.

The Riley, Kansas product also drilled her first career home run to lead off the fourth inning to give the T-Birds (8-8 overall, 1-1 KJCCC) a 1-0 lead over Highland (12-4 overall, 3-1 KJCCC).

"She had a tremendous day," said Cloud County head coach Aaron Acree, referring to Ummel, who lowered her earned run average to 1.09 on the season. "The defense behind her did a great job. I'm ecstatic about that win. That was by far the best Jordan has looked this year."

The key to Ummel's success started with strike one. She consistently worked ahead on Wednesday and only walked one batter.

"If she got that first strike, she had them (Scotties' hitters)," Acree said. "She pitched in the right sequence and she had a great demeanor. I told her to go out there and take charge of the game and that's exactly what she did."

Prior to Ummel's home run, Cloud County benefited from a close call in the top of the fourth when, with one out and a Highland runner on second, a fly ball was caught by center fielder Marissa Wright and dropped on the exchange from the glove to her throwing hand.

Instead of runners possibly on second and third with one out, the umpires discussed the play to clarify if Wright had recorded the out and stood with the call on the field. Ummel induced a ground ball to shortstop Leslie Schuetz to end the threat.

"That was a huge call. I thought it was a true catch then drop on the transfer," Acree said. "We got a break on that."

 Cloud County added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore Jaycee Worrell poked a one-out single through the left side, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a two-out single Schuetz yanked to left field.

The victory in Game Two washed away the bad taste of Game One's 15-1 loss in five innings and was an emphatic end to a mini three-game skid for the T-Birds.

They'll look to build off the momentum when they continue their eight-game home stand on Friday with a doubleheader against Coffeyville Community College. Game times are set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

"The first game (Wednesday) was terrible. There was no excuse for that. I don't know if we played tight or what was behind it," Acree said. "But I'm very glad we responded the way we did."