Owings (Md.) Northern High senior Jess Cummings probably can't remember the last time she suffered a loss. It's been a while, but the softball pitcher finally experienced defeat on a high school diamond.
After 43 straight victories since taking over the starting role as a sophomore, Cummings went down as the losing pitcher for the first time in her prep career, according to MaxPreps. The defeat also erased Northern's 77-game winning streak. The Braves have won seven straight Class 3A state championships.
Equally as remarkable, Maryland rival Morganza Chopticon scored three earned runs against Cummings in a 5-3 victory on March 24 that dropped Northern to 1-1 on the young season. She had not allowed a home run since 2012, but Chopticon leadoff hitter Jayci Cristaudo put an end to that streak as well with a first-pitch home run. It would have been easy for Cummings to let emotion get the best of her. After all, she had never suffered defeat before. But the Penn State recruit took the loss in stride.
"You never like to lose, but it happens and you move on and learn from it," she told MaxPreps. "There are no excuses. It was a wake-up call to every girl on our team. Every little thing counts now and we must learn from it. We knew it (a loss) was going to happen sooner or later and I'm glad it was early."
Cummings finished 22-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 298 strikeouts in 135 innings as a junior. She allowed just 18 hits and one unearned run all season, as the Braves outscored opponents 198-1. Cummings was 20-0 in the circle as a sophomore, recording a 0.38 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 128 innings. According to MaxPreps, she also submitted a perfect record as a freshman on Northern's junior varsity team.
And the sweet smell of victory was shortlived for Northern's opponents this season. In three games since the loss, Cummings is 3-0, including an 8-0 victory against Chopticon in their rematch on Tuesday.