LINCOLN — There’s no room for confusion or interpretation when you’re that sure about something. Make no mistake: Nick Zammarelli’s mind is already made up regarding where he wants to play college baseball.
A junior at Lincoln High, Zammarelli recently announced his intention to attend Division I Elon University, located in North Carolina. To issue a verbal that signifies the acceptance of an athletic scholarship package long before Zammarelli is even eligible to sign a national letter of intent speaks volumes of just how comfortable the player is with the school and vice versa.
When you’re sure about something, you’re sure about something. Clearly Zammarelli is.
“I never expected that I would be committing to a college before starting my junior season. I was fortunate that of the offers I had, every school was a good academic school,” Zammarelli stated. “In the end I wanted to go to a place where I could get a good education and become the best possible baseball player. I definitely feel Elon is that place.”
Other colleges that approached Zammarelli with scholarship offers include Marist, Northeastern, Bryant University and URI, the latter a spot where Lincoln High has sent many a graduated player over the past decade. The list includes past notables Dan Rhault and Tom Coulombe to present day Rhody players Chris Pickering and Ryan O’Dell.
Thanks to a strong 2011 sophomore season that saw Zammarelli earn first team all-division honors and second team all-state distinction, he was able to get the ball rolling with recruiters, who took even more notice of him following a strong showing at this past fall’s World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Fla.
In 18 games with the Lions, Zammarelli batted .433 with an on-base percentage of .500 while slugging at a .600 clip. Generally he was slotted in the heart of Lincoln’s batting order, driving in 13 runs while amassing seven extra base hits (five doubles, one triple, one home run).
Ed Hunt, who coaches the 6-foot-1 Zammarelli at Lincoln, noted that he plans to utilize his cornerstone at shortstop (succeeding O’Dell) and on the mound as the No. 2 starter. Down the road, Elon could look to make Zammarelli a corner infielder depending on how much more growing he does.
Zammarelli, in addition to playing hockey at Lincoln, has been a staple of the local baseball scene for quite some time. Formally with the Blackstone Valley Spinners of AAU fame, Zammarelli spent last summer playing on a prospects travel team organized by Rhault, presently a part owner of Extra Innings, an indoor baseball facility located in Warwick. Zammarelli was also a key figure on the Cumberland Post 14 squad that advanced to the final game of the R.I. American Legion Senior Division playoffs.
Naturally it was a team effort in helping Zammarelli sift through the recruiting waters.
“I especially want to thank Coach Hunt and Coach Rhault who have given me great advice and guidance during this recruiting process,” Zammarelli stated. “Of course I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the constant support of my parents (Nick Sr. and Lisa).”
Come this November, Zammarelli will officially become a member of the Elon baseball community when he signs on the dotted line. He is heading to a Phoenix program that has not won fewer than 36 games over the past four seasons.
“As a coach, it is very rewarding to learn that one of your players is going on to play at a higher level. We have had many players graduate from Lincoln High School to pursue their dream of playing at various levels in college, but Nick’s early verbal commitment to play for an elite academic, Division I baseball program at Elon University is unprecedented,” Hunt remarked. “He’s one of the best pure hitters that I have had the pleasure of coaching in my entire career. His hard work, passion for the game and mature outlook has gotten him to this point and will aid in his continued success in Lincoln and at Elon. I’m extremely happy for Nick and his family on their decision.”