Oxford's Nicole Mangaudis
By Steev Riccardo
We love to come up with nicknames in the View, “Fornaro Mania,” “The Sweet Assassin,” Anthony “The Bull” Caffarelli, “The Two Headed-Monster”(OK well maybe it was Bartlett football coach Dane Laboissonniere that came up with that one), but one nickname we definitely didn’t come up with that we wish we had is “The Franchise.”
Oxford High School girls softball coach and former Bartlett High School graduate Jamie Hetherman gets all the credit for giving Pirates softball star Nicole Mangaudis “The Franchise” as her moniker-- and rightfully so.
Mangaudis has pitched in every single inning of every single game since her freshmen season for the Pirates. Hello? Can you say Iron Woman? If anyone deserves to be called “The Franchise,” it is certainly Mangaudis. She has accomplished a very rare feat for a high school athlete, or an athlete at any level, for that matter.
“Honestly, I think it is the biggest privilege that anyone has ever had. I get to play and pitch in every game and unlike other teams where I would have to play outfield and other positions I get to play the position I have played my entire life,” said Mangaudis.
The senior star followed in the footsteps of her two older sisters, Melissa and Emily, who were also both four-year varsity players for the Pirates. When asked if she was better than her older sisters she said jokingly, “I can’t say that, they might attack me later.”
Along with having her sisters pave the way for her, she was also enamored with one of Melissa’s teammates, Lindsay Hassett, who she also calls a role model.
“She was amazing, she barely walked anyone, she was always striking people out, she was a great hitter, she was a captain, she had a great attitude and I knew when I came here I wanted to pitch just like her.”
The streak that earned her the nickname “The Franchise” was not easy at first. “When I first started as a freshman it was really difficult. I felt sore at the end of week, my arm was killing me, but as four years have passed I don’t feel any pain at all. It’s really more fun that it is a job.”
Another thing that has made her journey fun is her teammates. One of them is Kayde McCarthy, who she has played with since she was a freshman. She also played with catcher Sara Smith and first basemen Lauren Puishys for the last three years. The group has tremendous camaraderie together.
This core was part of the team which made a District run last year, winning in the first round. “Making the Districts last year was the highlight of my four-year career. Every inning I went out there with calm, but with a little bit of nerves as well.”
Mangaudis struck out 14 in a tough loss to Narragansett but still walked away feeling good about her team, not to mention that she nearly broke her career record of 16 strikeouts which she accomplished against David Prouty on the highest stage.
This year is going to be a challenge for the Pirates and at 4-4, she knows her team “is going to have to really work for it. We have freshmen in the lineup but I think when we get comfortable and get our play down we will definitely make it to the districts.”
One of the things that Mangaudis has not done but would like to have done is beat Shepherd Hill. She almost did but lost a game that was tied in the last inning 1-1 a couple weeks ago. Turns out that “The Franchise” is good friends with several of players on the Shepherd Hill team, whom she plays summer league ball with, but still would have loved to beat them.
She is also tight with Bartlett’s Lindsay Bond. “We were really close when we played together and we are still friends.” The pair are also close with Bond’s cousin Sara McKissick, who is a hoop star with Shepherd Hill.
Mangaudis is not limited to friendships with just the local female athletes. “I have been close with Nick Lemay since grade school, he is a great pitcher. He should definitely play in college. I am also good friends with Tyler Bostek, an excellent first baseman, a great hitter and athlete.” She also mentioned Matt Rayla, “who is an excellent basketball player” with Shepherd Hill.
When not starring on the diamond and spreading the love with all her friends, Mangaudis is also on Student Council, in the National Honor Society, part of the Best Buddies program, and is ranked in the top ten of her class.
As you might imagine, she is all set and ready to go as far as school goes with plans to attend UMass Amherst in the fall, where she will study nutrition.
“I always wanted to be a dietician and I am very excited to learn about it. I am thinking about trying out for softball, its tough competition there, it’s a big decision I have to make. If I don’t play for the team, I will definitely play intramurals. Softball will definitely be a part of my future.”
Lastly, “The Franchise” paid props to her coach Hetherman. “For the past four years he has been so supportive. When I first came here I wasn’t very comfortable and he was very patient with me. He and Eli Spitz (Assistant Coach) have been very supportive and I want to thank them for everything that they have done for me.”
Hetherman has great praise for Mangaudis. “Nicole has been an awesome player for us, a great captain, a great leader, she led us to the Districts last year.”
Nicole “The Franchise” Mangaudis is not only a tough competitor, but a class act as well.
Red Paquette: We recently caught up with Red Paquette, the manager of the Oxford-based Brimley Foundation Senior Babe Ruth baseball. The team plays in the highly competitive Paul N. Johnson Senior Babe Ruth league in Worcester. They have been in the league for ten years and have won the championship five out of the last eight years. They have made the playoffs every year. Some of the locals returning for another year include Bartlett’s Nick Kobel, Shepherd Hill’s Ryan Stearns, Victor Champagne, and Drew Ravenelle, and Oxford stars Cody Stone and Nick Cardoni.
Brimley Foundation will be holding tryouts the first two weekends of May and is open to all the schools in the SWCL.
Stella Worters: Sophomore Shepherd Hill Rams sensation Stella Worters is at it again. She ran a 2:23 in the 800 to lead her team in a tri-school last week in Millbury against Leicester High School and Millbury High School.
- Wednesday, 25 April 2012
- Posted in Categories: : View from the Sidelines