February 23, 2024

Turning Heads: Umatilla High’s Danika Jones Shines in Softball Spotlight

3.4 min read| Published On: February 23rd, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Turning Heads: Umatilla High’s Danika Jones Shines in Softball Spotlight

3.4 min read| Published On: February 23rd, 2024|

Danika Jones, a senior at Umatilla High School, is off to an amazing start in the 2024 softball season. Those who know her understand her hard work ethic and amazing talents on and off the softball field. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Danika so special.

Danika has been playing a stick and ball sport since she was 5 years old. During her early days, she loved playing baseball with the boys and eventually transitioned to softball. Danika is a middle infielder but is listed as a utility player. She knows all of the positions and is one of the best all-around players in Lake County.

(Danika Jones wears #7 for Umatilla High. She comes into her senior year signed to play collegiate softball for Lake-Sumter State College.)

In just two games this season, Danika is turning heads. The entire Umatilla Lady Bulldogs team has had a tremendous start to the season and Danika has been a big help. After signing her letter of commitment to play collegiate softball for Lake-Sumter State College we are looking forward to a great season from her.

(Jones takes a swing during a preseason game. Photo Credit – KD Photography.)

Players, including junior Mittie O’Brien and senior Brooke Moss, have had a tremendous start to the season. That success is something that Danika wanted to be a part of this season. It takes a lot to transfer your senior year, but Danika made the decision to transfer to Umatilla High this year, where her parents say it’s been a great change for her. “From Principal Frazier to the academics, athletics, and atmosphere, Umatilla High is a great school that is continually improving, be it on or off the field,” said Brett Jones, who is Danika’s father.

(The Jones family at Danika’s recent college signing ceremony. From left to right – Brett: Danika’s father, Kacy: Danika’s older brother, Danika Jones, Michele: Danika’s mother.)

Umatilla High School has worked hard to improve its academic standing in the state of Florida over the past few years. In fact, just last year, Umatilla Principal Brett Frazier was named Principal of the Year in Florida. All of that combined made Umatilla High School the right fit for Danika and she is very proud to represent Umatilla High.

For Danika, she currently has a 3.4 GPA and intends to play softball after high school at the collegiate level. Danika recently signed her letter of commitment to play for Lake-Sumter State College. She attended the school’s camps and fell in love with what LSSC had to offer.

(Danika dressed in her travel softball uniform for the Texas Blaze. Some of the best softball players in the USA play on this team.)

Danika has been a part of FFA (Future Farmers of America). She has won best in show at the Lake County Fair for a steer that she has shown. She won first place for a 1,350 steer that she raised and won with at the fair.

Danika has an older brother, Kacy. Her mother, Michele, is a school teacher at Carver Middle School. But it has not always been an easy road for Danika. When she was 14 years old, she almost lost the ability to play softball.

(Two Umatilla High School senior’s sign to play for Lake-Sumter State College. They include Danika Jones right and Brooke Moss left surrounded by friends and family members.)

“Danika slid into a base and hurt her knuckle badly. 2 days later when we were visiting the doctor and received some shocking news,” said Brett. “Do you ever want to play softball again? Then we need to operate immediately,” said the doctor. Within a few days, Danika was in surgery. Her knuckle had rotated and needed immediate surgery to help stabilize it or she could have lost the ability to play softball forever.

(Danika Jones during a recent preseason game. Photo Credit – KD Photography.)

Luckily, the surgery was a success, and although the recovery took some time, eventually Danika was out playing the sport she loved once more. She joined a national travel ball team based out of Texas, and her hard work has paid off with a chance to now continue playing softball at the collegiate level for LSSC.

(Danika Jones had a very successful travel softball season during the 2023 season. She also attended summer camps eventually deciding that Lake-Sumter State College was the right fit.)

During Danika’s recent signing day, there was a lot of emotion. All the hard work had paid off. She now gets the opportunity to finish her senior year on a high note with one of the better teams in Lake County this season. We wish Danika and the rest of the Umatilla Girls softball team the best of luck during the 2024 season.

Photo Credit – KD Photography

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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