CORNING - Corning Community College standout softball player Michele DiNicola decided to take her talents to Division I NAIA Arizona Christian University Wednesday at Corning Community College in front of family and friends.

“I’m so excited, it’s overwhelming and such a bittersweet feeling,” said DiNicola. “I’m sad to leave Corning and to leave [head coach] Stacy [Johnson] and the whole faculty, but I’m ready to go on to my next journey and see where life takes me.”

DiNicola had multiple offers from different schools, but felt Arizona Christian would be the best choice for her.

“I wanted to play somewhere where I could play all year round,” DiNicola said. “I’ve been talking on and off with the coach all year and she’s so nice. It’s a Christian school - and I started off in a Christian school - so I kind of want to end in a Christian school too.”

Across her two-year career with the Red Barons, DiNicola had a .523 average, 149 hits, 34 home runs and 143 RBIs. Breaking 15 CCC softball all-time records along the way.

DiNicola earned Region 3 Player of The Year two times, along with being a two-time Mid-State Athletic Conference Player of the year, a two-time NJCAA First Team All-American, NFCA All-American First Team in 2018 along with being named Twin Tiers College Athlete of The Year and was the Harold “Benny” Hunziker Female Student Athlete of The Year in 2018.

With all that DiNicola has accomplished, she could go down as one of the best players ever to put on the red and black.

“At first I wasn’t sure of what to think about it,” said DiNicola. “Especially my first year, because I had a lot of expectations, but I think that helped me push my goals and I think Stacy helped me to do better this year even though I excelled last year.”

Corning Community College head softball coach and all-time most winningest coach Stacy Johnson echoed the sentiment that DiNicola is one of the best that she’s had play for her in her illustrious career.

“I’ll argue with anybody that [Michele] was the best offensive player to play at this college and possibly in our region,” said Johnson. “She was that impactful and that special of a kid. The way it ended I couldn’t be more happy for her.”