Mengel headed to Adelphi University

By on November 17, 2016
Warwick senior Nicole Mengel makes it official, signing on the dotted line last Wednesday, Nov. 9 with Adelphi University, where she will play softball.

Warwick senior Nicole Mengel makes it official, signing on the dotted line last Wednesday, Nov. 9 with Adelphi University, where she will play softball.

Warwick senior Nicole Mengel was in the right place at the right time.

Pitching for the Wagner’s Gold softball team in the Boston area, she caught the eye of Adelphi University head coach Bree Nasti.

Fate had it that the Lady Panthers’ coaches arrived early that day. They were actually there for a game following the Wagner’s Gold contest.

“They saw me pitch,” Mengel said, “and they were like, ‘Oh, she’s not committed. OK.’ So it was by accident that they found me.”

And the more Mengel found in her research about the Garden City, N.Y.-based Division-II school, the more she liked.

So much so, in fact, that she signed her National Letter of Intent during the early signing period last Wednesday, Nov. 9 to continue her academic and athletic careers at Adelphi.

“I really like their program and just how they came up to me and how forward they were and how competitive they are,” Mengel said. “It just clicked.”

“She’s really had her mind set on playing at the next level,” Warwick coach Mark Hough said, “and I think (Adelphi) has really been a perfect match for Nicole.”

Mengel noted that Division-I schools South Florida, Drexel and Binghamton had also expressed interest. She was emailing with USF coach Ken Eriksen, but just felt that Adelphi was the best fit.

“(Coach Eriksen) said I don’t have money, but if you come to USF, I’ll have a spot on my roster for you,” said Mengel, who plans to study exercise science. “But it just ended up that Adelphi had more opportunities for me and looked like a better home for me than USF … You’ve got to put into perspective of what you want after softball and Adelphi was the best option for me for softball and education and life after that.”

Adelphi is coming off a 2016 season in which they finished 35-22. After falling to Pace University 3-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference semi-finals, the Lady Panthers came back to capture the NCAA East 2 Regional, then swept Southern New Hampshire University in the East Super Regional to advance to the Division-II College World Series for the second straight year.

The Lady Panthers, in addition to her skills on the field, are getting a player whom Hough sees developing into a leader for the Lady Warriors.

“I think Nicole has really worked at improving her communication skills on the field,” Hough said. “She’s really developing some more positive leadership attributes and I really see her reaching out to some of the younger players this fall, which I think is going to bode well for her down the road.”

In the circle for Warwick last season, Mengel was 4-0, 0.84 with 31 Ks in 25 innings. In addition to a fastball which reaches a speed of 65 mph, the senior hurler also throws a change-up, drop, drop curve, screwball and rise.

“Lately, I’ve been utilizing (mostly) fastball because I’ve gotten more speed behind it and movement,” said Mengel, who also plays for the Lancaster Razorbacks travel team. “But my drop-curve, I consider it deadly.”

With Mengel and junior Amanda Herr, Warwick boasts a solid 1-2 punch at the pitcher’s spot.

“Nicole has made some great strides this past summer,” Hough said, “and I think that her successes with the travel team and some of the other teams she’s played for has shown a dramatic improvement in her ability in the circle, and we’re looking forward to capitalizing on both of our pitchers this coming season.”

When not pitching, Mengel plays a number of other spots in the field for Warwick, including third base and shortstop, which are positions where she could also see time at Adelphi.

She received Second-Team All-State accolades as a sophomore and has received Section One First-Team All-Star recognition the past two seasons.

“I like to consider myself well-rounded and know any part of the field, except for catcher,” said Mengel, who batted .385 last season with 15 runs, nine RBIs and five doubles. “I told them that and they said, ‘Well, we’ll definitely use that.’ So I expect mainly third and short, if anything.”

Mengel wasn’t sure what to expect after suffering a broken fibula and displaced tibia in the summer prior to her junior year. The recovery length was extended due to complications. But all turned out in the end for Mengel … and Adelphi.

“I was pretty sad that I had to sit out,” Mengel said, “but then again, I don’t think I would have come this far and gotten better at pitching if I I wouldn’t have had that break because it made me more hungry for the game.”

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