Jake Ullman spent three seasons as the starting shortstop for Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750's legion baseball team from 2012 to 2014, which included two appearances in the state tournament in Lancaster.
During that time, Ullman provided the Todd Engle-coached teams with a reliable bat and a slick glove. But following Thursday's season-ending loss to Prospect Post 368, Ullman's final game in a Beverly/Lowell uniform, Engle pointed out something else that Ullman brought to the table, something that cannot be measured on a stat sheet.
"He's been our leader all year," Engle said.
Ullman, unfortunately, couldn't play in Thursday's loss due to a nagging back injury, but that didn't stop him from making his presence felt from the dugout.
"He hated not being out there," Engle said, "but he sat in there and kept the scorebook and he was the biggest cheerleader in there."
Beverly/Lowell fielded a very youthful team this summer, which made Ullman's experience and presence even more valuable. He was somebody that the younger players could look up to and model their game after. Ullman had a significant impact on one player in particular - Engle's son Tate.
"Jake's taken him under his wing and really worked with him," said the elder Engle, who pointed out that his son roomed with Ullman during the team's stay in Lancaster.
Tate Engle, 14, is the younger brother of Tyler Engle, who was a star shortstop at Ohio State. With Ullman departing from the Beverly/Lowell squad, the shortstop position appears to be up for grabs next season and Tate could very well be the one to win the job. By backing up Ullman this summer, he had the opportunity to learn from one of the best.
Ullman played his high school ball at Parkersburg Catholic and was named first team all-state in West Virginia's Class A this past spring. He said he would like to continue playing baseball in college, naming Ohio Valley University and Marietta College as possible destinations.
Wherever he decides to go, the school, and the baseball team, will be much better for it.
Jordan Holland is a sports writer for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at (740) 376-5449 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.