The Merrimack College Athletic Department and head coach Jim Cardello of the softball team are pleased to welcome six future student-athletes who have signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the Early Signing Period to join the program next fall.
“We had a plan dedicated to our first two full-year recruiting classes, and our 2015 NLI signees were all about adding speed, athleticism and defense,” Cardello stated. “This class can certainly hit, as well, but all were recruited for their speed on the bases, their softball I.Q. on defense, and their ability to control a game behind the plate. We’re very excited and proud to welcome them to our Merrimack Softball family!”
The versatile group features a number of players who list many different positions; included among the six are four players who hail from Massachusetts, and two more from the Granite State.
Melanie DeAlmeida | Pitcher/Infielder | L/R | 5-7 | Arlington, Mass. / Arlington
Four-year letterwinner … Named Middlesex League All-Star as a junior … Team captain as a senior … Plays for Polar Crush Regional and East Coast Firecrackers travel teams … Born Dec. 3, 1996 … Daughter of Joe and Karen … Has two siblings, Joseph and Matthew.
Cardello on DeAlmeida: “Will likely be known as the fastest player our program has ever seen. She pitches in the 60-mile-per-hour range and gets from home to first in 2.6 seconds. She will create havoc for opposing defenses and fits in well with our aggressive style of offense.”
Samantha Durand | 3B/2B/OF | R/R | 5-2 | Dracut, Mass. / Dracut | Sports Medicine
Four-year letterwinner … Has helped team to three straight Merrimack Valley Conference titles … As a freshman, team claimed D2 North Sectional title … Semifinalists in state championship as a freshman … Sectional semifinalist as a junior … Named a conference all-star as a junior … Plays for Hudson Heat 14U and Crossfire 16U and 18U travel teams … Born Feb. 12, 1997 … Daughter of Gerald and Susan … Has two siblings, Cassie and Jacob … Sports Medicine major.
Cardello on Durand: “Sam is an ultimate team player who can play multiple positions and, simply put, loves softball. Coming from the excellent Middlesex Crossfire program, she knows the game very well and will make an impact at second base, third base, and corner outfield positions.”
Emily Kurkul | Catcher | R/R | 5-3 | Bridgewater, Mass. / Bridgewater-Raynham | Engineering
Four-year letterwinner … Named a Brockton Enterprise and Gazette All-Scholastic selection as a sophomore … Led team to Division I state title as a junior … Boston Globe, Herald, Brockton Enterprise All-Scholastic selection … Taunton Gazette Player of the Year … NFCA All-American … Member of East Coast Firecrackers team … Born March 26, 1997 … Daughter of Robert and Kelly … Has one sibling, Cameron … Engineering major.
Cardello on Kurkul: “Emily will bring a quiet leadership at the catcher spot as well as at third base; she truly is passionate about the sport, is very smart on the field and was also a 2014 Boston Globe All-Scholastic selection while leading her team to a Division I state championship.”
Caitlin McBride | Catcher/3B | R/R | 5-6 | Danvers, Mass. / Danvers | Criminal Justice
Four-year letterwinner … Salem News Honorable Mention selection as a freshman … Northeastern Conference Honorable Mention as a freshman … Salem News All-Star, NEC All-Star as a sophomore … Salem News Player of the Year as a junior … Also named a Boston Globe All-Scholastic selection and NEC MVP that year … Plays for Concord Raiders travel team … Born Aug. 21, 1997 … Daughter of Howard and Sharon … Has two siblings, Erin and Patrick … Criminal Justice major.
Cardello on McBride: “Caitlin is from the esteemed Concord Raiders program, and she joins the team as one of four Boston Globe All-Scholastic players from 2014. Her athleticism, pop time from behind the plate, and overall softball acumen is going to make her a perennial All-Conference candidate, not to mention her .679 batting average as a high school junior.”
Nicole Nanof | 3B/SS/OF | R/R | 5-8 | Goffstown, N.H. / Goffstown | Biology
Four-year letterwinner … Recipient of Breakthrough Player award as a sophomore … Two-time First-Team All-State selection … As a junior, named team MVP and New Hampshire Division II Player of the Year … Member of East Coast Firecrackers club team … Born June 7, 1997 … Daughter of John and Laura … Has one sibling, Kristen … Biology major.
Cardello on Nanof: “Nicole has power and speed and the ability to play nearly any position on the field. She defines athleticism for us and will compete for time at just about any position on the field.”
Kristina Terrazzano | IF/P/UT | R/R | 5-4 | Pelham, N.H. / Bishop Guertin H.S. | Sports Medicine
Four-year letterwinner … Tossed nearly 70 innings while compiling seven wins as a junior while batting over 4.400 in that span … Also plays for N.H. Lady Cannons 18U, New England Diamond Gems 18U, and New England Storm 14U club teams … Born Dec. 12, 1996 … Daughter of James and Roberta … Has on sibling, Michael … Sports Medicine major.
Cardello on Terrazzano: “Adding speed and athleticism to our roster, Krista will join the program as a middle infielder and pitcher and is going to be a dangerous hitter in the NE-10.”
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN