Jessica Funk, Ashley And Audrey Hummell Named To TCS/CE 2010s All-Decade Softball Team (02/04/20)
(All photos submitted) 2011 District Nine Champion and State Runners-up Clarion Lady Cats: Sitting L-R Ashley Steiner, Krysta Fuller, Tiffany Smathers, Kelly Peterson, Abby Heller. Middle L-R Taylor Cohlheep, Ashley Hummell, Audrey Hummell, Jesica Funk, Katherine Loreski, Brianna Nellis, Courtney Donaldson.Back Row L-R Marissa Dechant, Olivia Bartley, Rebecca Zeigler, Hannah Wolf, Kaitlyn Conner. Coaches L-R Dave Everett, Allan Peterson, John Stroup, Eric Funk, Jeff Smathers, Dan Shofestall, Della Kurtzhals
The Tri-County Sunday and Courier Express newspapers, from DuBois, recently announced their 2010s All-Decade Softball Team, with Clarion Area’s Jessica Funk, and twin sisters Audrey and Ashley Hummell among those selected.
Players from teams, of any classification, within within the TCS/CE coverage area were eligible for the All-Decade Team. When the final selections were named, players from just four schools were selected. Clarion, DuBois and Elk County Catholic were each represented with three players, while DuBois Central Catholic had six players to this prestigious team.
Jessica, Audrey and Ashley were teammates for the entire four years of their Lady Cats Softball careers, which included the Clarion’s 24-1, District Nine Champion and PIAA State Runner-up Team, in their sophomore season, 2011.
Jessica and Audrey were named as infielders, and Ashley was named as an outfielder.
Jessica played at both second and third base, and also pitched. For her career, Jessica went 116-for-254 for a .457 average, with 30 doubles, 6 triples and eight home runs. Jessica drove in 109 runs and scored ninety-seven.
In the circle, Jessica went 10-4, while recording sixty-two strikeouts.
Audrey, who began as an outfielder, played her last three seasons at first base. Audrey’s career totals included a .390 batting average, with 98 hits, with 66 runs batted in and at least 14 doubles and ten home runs (complete freshman stats weren’t available).
Ashley scored 115 runs and drove in 102, for her career. During her final three seasons, She had 83 hits, including 15 home runs, 3 triples and nineteen doubles.
Other members of the TCS/CE 2010s All-Decade Softball Team include. : Player of the Decade, Jordy Frank from DuBois Central Catholic, as well as other Lady Cardinals’ Riley Assalone, Ashley Wruble, Carly Semancik, Marcy Hanes and Shayleigh Gulvas; from DuBois: Carly Wallock, Sierra McKee and Cheyanne McKee; and from Elk County Catholic: Abbey Bauer, Jessica Ginter and Lindsey Obremski.
I asked Clarion Area Head Coach Dan Shofestall and his three TCS/CE 2010s All-Decade Softball Team members for comments, which follow below:
“It was with great pleasure of learning the news of Jessica, Ashley and Audrey being named to the DuBois Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express 2010s All-Decade Softball Team. The Tri-County area has had such a rich tradition of teams and players who have played this past decade and it’s great to see Clarion Softball represented with three of our own.
“Jessica played infield for us her whole career, playing her first two years at 2nd base before switching to 3rd base the next two seasons. I remember Jess as a very fundamentally sound player with a great glove and a very accurate arm. Throughout her career she had a very high fielding percentage. She had very few errors in four years. She played without fear and was good at diving for balls. Through the four years she played her knowledge of the game continued to grow which served her well. It became one of her strengths. Jess also handled the bat very well. She could hit for power to different parts of the field and was a good smart aggressive base runner. She was very sound in all phases of her game. Jessica also pitched some for us and did well.
“Ashley played the outfield her entire four years where her athleticism and gracefulness were on full display every game. She could run like a deer into the outfield gaps with the greatest of ease to rob opposing hitters. She could get to balls that nobody in the whole ball park thought she would ever get too. Her right arm was a cannon, that she loved to use. Ashley’s specialty was throwing out opposing runners on the bases. She threw runners out at every base including runners at 1st base from center field. Offensively she hit with good power and hit many gap shots. She had good hand-eye coordination and good bat speed. She was always a threat that we used on the base paths.
“Audrey played 1st base for us her final three years with the team. She had a super glove and tremendous range. Hustling and racing deep into foul territory to catch fly balls and pop ups were something she excelled at and provided the team with valuable outs. Her speed to the ball to field bunts was key, in shutting down the opposing teams short game. Audrey was also a very good hitter. She was such a clutch hitter who could hit under game pressure. Amazingly Audrey hit three game winning walk off home runs as a freshman to help the Bobcats to some big wins against some great pitching.
“I would like to congratulate Jessica, Ashley and Audrey for being named and recognized to the Dubois Tri-County Sunday All-Decade Softball Team. Also, I would like to say that all three girls played on some very good teams with a lot of good, outstanding players.”
“I’ve been asked in particular to comment on the 2011 team that went to the 2011 State Championship game that Jess, Ashley and Audrey played in.
“The 2011 Clarion Softball Team finished as the Pennsylvania State runner-up. Their final record was 24-1. Even though Jess, Ashley and Audrey are being recognized, I know they would be the first to say that they had outstanding teammates.
“The 2011 team had a number of strengths. Number one was they had a vision of what and who they wanted to become and went on a mission to make that vision a reality. They were a team of competitors who had no fear. They just didn’t spend time at practice but they worked hard and invested everything they had in making the vision a reality. They were always locked in mentally at practice or the game. On game day, the team had great vision and anticipation on what the next pitch could bring for team success. “They loved the game and knew how to play it. They never took a day off. And last of all, they were resilient and were able to pick each other up when need be. It was a team the coaching staff enjoyed coaching daily.
“The team was very solid in all areas. Ashley was part of an outfield that consisted of Bri Nellis and Ashley Steiner. All three girls had good range, arms and made big plays throughout the year. The infield consisted of Audrey and Jessica at 1st and 2nd base, while Tiffany Smathers and Abby Heller played shortstop and 3rd base forming a great infield. All four of them had great gloves, arms and range and understood the game and knew how to play it.
“And of course to get as far as we did, we had to have great pitching and catching, which we got from Krysta Fuller and Kelly Peterson. Krysta was a rock for us in the circle, with good command of her pitches. She could attack the strike zone in various ways. Kelly did a fantastic job of glove work in helping Krysta set up hitters. She let very few wild pitches get past her all year.
“Hannah Wolf was our Designated Player who had a big bat for our team. The whole team could hit from top to bottom.
“And last but not least the team had good depth. All seventeen girls worked hard at practice. Whether they were in the lineup or not everyone knew their role on the team and played it well.”
“The Hummell twins and I are thrilled and even more thrilled to receive this honor together.
“Being selected for the TCS/CE All-Decade team is honestly crazy. When Audrey, Ashley and I were just kids playing ball every day, we never dreamed that we would have the success that we did. Being selected for the team with them makes the honor a little sweeter. We grew up playing together through Little League, travel ball and then high school.
“We all graduated together in 2013, so there wasn’t a Bobcat softball game that we didn’t play together. We learned to read and trust each other. In school, we all ran around with different crowds, but when we hit the field the three of us counted on each other.
“I have a lot of fond memories of my days playing for the Bobcats and I’m sure that most people would expect it to be our state championship run in 2011, but for me it was every day at practice out a Weaver Field. Coach Dan always came up with a tight schedule for practice. He jammed in every drill and exercise that he thought might help us with the upcoming game. I loved the repetitive nature and predictability of practice.
“Softball was my entire life back then, so spending two hours a day working on my game with my friends was always the highlight of my day.
“I was blessed to have so many awesome coaches during my time playing the game. Coach Dan can be very intimidating, but is honestly one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. He always wanted us to succeed on and off the field. His practices were tough but always fun. He spent countless hours working in the equipment room, coming up with new drills and finding ways for us to succeed. His leadership style was through action rather than words, which is something I have tried to emulate in my own life. I’m forever thankful for everything he has done for me.
“Clarion has had an amazing staff of coaches over the years including Randy Reynolds, Allen Peterson, John Stroup, Jeff Smathers, Dave Everett and Della Kurtzhals.
“My favorite coach of all time was my dad, Eric. He joined the coaching staff of the team during my freshman year and handled all the stats for the team. It was hard sometimes having my dad in the dugout, especially when I was playing poorly. His presence somehow added pressure and calmed me all at the same time. He supported me with every aspect of my softball career.
“The fall of my junior year I started playing travel ball for Pittsburgh Power Gold. A travel team made up of girls looking to get recruited by college softball teams. I was in Pittsburgh 2-3 nights a week during the off-season and we were in a different state every week in the summer. My dad joined the coaching staff of that team and sacrificed a lot of time personally and professionally for me to play the game that I love. I hope that when I have kids of my own someday I can be at least half of the parent that he was. He has been a fantastic role model for me and through our time together he has become my best friend.
“During my senior year, I was recruited to play ball with the University at Buffalo. I went in the fall of 2013 but quickly saw that being a Division 1 athlete did not correlate with my academic goals. I had always put school first throughout my life and decided to commit myself to my education. Ending my softball career was the hardest decision I had ever made but it’s one that I don’t regret.
“I transferred to Slippery Rock University and got involved with Greek life. I thought being captain of a softball team was hard but being president of a sorority is a whole other beast. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and a Bachelor of Science degree in Creative Writing in 2018. After graduation, I earned a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and completed an internship with Walt Disney World.
“Currently, I am working with both the Clarion County Housing Authority and the Clarion Blueprint Community to help accomplish their goals for the area. In the town of Clarion, my name has always been synonymous with softball, which is something I am very proud of. I’m looking forward to creating a new legacy for myself within our amazing community.”
Audrey Hummell Vidmar
“The honor of being named to the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express All-Decade Softball Team is truly amazing! I would’ve never thought about being a part of such a great accomplishment and team. I have seen so many athletes come out of (the Tri-County Sunday/TCS area) and I never imagined myself as one of the decade.
“My dad got Ashley and me into softball at the age of 8 and for that I thank him, because it has been a huge part of my life. So many great experiences have come from playing softball, starting with Little League and ending with collegiate softball.
“Playing softball has taught me so much and I have met some amazing people throughout my career.
“Clarion area softball has always been something I will remember. Ashley, Jessica and I have played softball together since the beginning and we have had the greatest experiences with travel ball and playing for coach Dan. Over the four years, I learned so much from Coach Dan, Coach P and the other coaches and I will never forget the year we played in the state championship game. Being an underclassman made me realize how much I learned that year and how I grew into a better player because of them.
“After high school, I was a part of the Clarion University softball team for three years as an outfielder. Playing collegiate softball was very different than what I was used to, but I enjoyed being able to continue my career in my hometown. I had the opportunity to meet and grow closer to my teammates and still remain close to some of them today.
“At CUP, I studied nutrition & fitness which has been a huge part of my life during my collegiate career and in my professional career.
“Since graduating from Clarion in 2017, I started my career as a Nutritionist and obtained my Masters in Science in 2019. I recently got married and currently live in Cranberry Township with my husband Tyler.”
“Being selected for the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express All-Decade Softball All-Team is a big honor. I never would have imagined being chosen for something like this because there have been a lot of great players to come out of (the Tri-County Sunday/TCS area).
“I started playing softball at the age of 8 with my sister Audrey. We initially started out as a pitcher/catcher duo with Audrey being the pitcher and I caught. To help us improve, my dad even stood in as a batter. He had us out in the backyard every day that year helping us get better, as I’m sure most softball dads do. Audrey and I played these positions all the way up to freshman year in high school, at which point Audrey moved to first base and I switched to the outfield.
“Audrey and I met Jessica funk in Little League but we were always on opposing teams. It wasn’t until there was a travel softball team put together called “Clarion Intensity” later changed to “Xplosion,” that we played on the same team. We played together on travel teams from the ages of 11-16.
“The Clarion Area softball team will be something that I will always remember. All four years of playing for coach Dan were great. I made many great friends through the program and we played in a lot of intense and fun games throughout those years (especially 2011 when we went to the state championship).
“I played for the Clarion University softball team, however, I only played for one year due to student teaching for my early childhood education major. Simply being on the team, for one year, really showed me that it’s next-level play because you are playing against girls from all around the country who have committed to play softball and most of them were better than anyone I have ever played against before. I am glad I was fortunate enough to compete at the college level because many athletes don’t have the opportunity to do so after they graduate high school.
“After graduating from Clarion University in 2017, I have been a full-time nanny for a great family in Mars, PA. (Ashley lives in Butler. She and her fiance Taylor) are getting married in May of this year!”
(Congratulations to Jessica, Audrey and Ashley!!!! You are all very deserving of this wonderful honor. Also, congratulations to your families, Coach Shofestall and his staff and your teammates!!!! And finally, congratulations to all the other players named to TCS/CE 2010s All-Decade Softball Team!!!!)