Speed, versatility help Abby Quickel play key role for Bethel Park softball

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Saturday, July 10, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Yes, Bethel Park’s Abby Quickel, as her surname suggests, is quick.

But as a junior outfielder on the Black Hawks’ WPIAL championship team, the versatile Quickel also displayed her altruism and selflessness.

Quickel hit .380 during the WPIAL portion of her team’s schedule and ranked among the team leaders in stolen bases. She was not caught stealing in nine attempts.

She was a true “team player.” Normally an infielder at shortstop or third base, Quickel promptly switched to the outfield in 2021 so that her quickness and athleticism could be utilized by the Black Hawks.

“Abby’s strength is her speed,” coach Heather Semplice-Scott said. “In the outfield, she covers a lot of ground, and on the bases, she is quick. Abby took the role we gave her and really worked hard to contribute to the championship team. She came in as an infielder, where she plays in travel (softball). We saw her speed and wanted to utilize it in the outfield.”

Quickel collected a single and triple in three at-bats against Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL championship game, a 9-2 win by the Black Hawks.

“This past season was definitely one to remember,” Quickel said. “Overall, I couldn’t be more proud of the team for the performance we put on this year. We have been playing softball together since we were young, and this was the season that everyone had been waiting for.

“Though our early loss in states was an upset to everyone, I think our team more than proved itself with our incredible season. There’s no denying the talent that was on the team this season.”

Quickel has been a varsity athlete since her freshman season at Bethel Park.

“She was sidelined for part of her freshman year,” Semplice-Scott said. “When she returned, she was used as a (pinch) hitter and runner.”

Quickel also is a fast learner. She has a spectacular 4.5 GPA, is a National Honor Society member and participates in DECA, a marketing competition that allows students to compete in a business-like atmosphere.

This summer, Quickel has seen her recruiting process step up. Two early college candidates for her are Seton Hill and Lafayette.

“I have been getting college interest,” Quickel said. “This summer is a prime year in my recruiting journey. I’ve been communicating with a few schools recently. I have been looking into Seton Hill and Lafayette College the most I’d say, but I am still open to other schools.

“I plan to major in something related to business. I’ve thought about data analytics, but I am not positive on anything quite yet.”

One Bethel Park player already committed to a college program is Sandra Soltes, a junior catcher this season who will continue her softball career at Pitt after high school.

Soltes enjoyed a game for the ages against Canon-Mac in the WPIAL finals, going 3 for 4 with two home runs, a single, three runs scored and eight RBIs.

Quickel and Soltes, both 17, have a special bond between them that was established 10 years ago and extends beyond the softball field.

“I have been best friends with Abby since we were 7 years old,” Soltes said. “Our dads are best friends, and I hang out with her constantly. Playing with my all-time best friend makes the games even more fun.”

Both girls are participating in travel ball in the offseason but in different organizations. Quickel has been a member of Team Pennsylvania 16U Sroka for seven years.

“My team typically travels up and down the East Coast,” she said. “This past weekend, we were in Tennessee and finished second out of 132 teams. Next weekend, we will be in the Philadelphia area.”

Quickel primarily plays a middle infield position for Team Pennsylvania.

“However, my coach likes to keep the players versatile,” she said, “so I additionally play in the outfield and sometimes third base.”

Two other Bethel Park players, Lauren Caye and Delaney Nagy, compete for the same organization on one of the older squads.

The early plan for next season for the Black Hawks is to establish a solid foundation around the likes of Soltes, Quickel, left fielder Ali Sniegocki and second baseman Delaney Sierka.

Soltes hit a robust .500 in 2021, while Quickel (.380), Sniegocki (.340) and Sierka (.312) were .300 hitters.

“Sandra, Abby, Ali and Delaney will be our team leaders,” Semplice-Scott said. “They have a lot of experience from playing on varsity the past few years. We look for them to take control, as our seniors did this year.”

Quickel believes the Black Hawks will be able blend their young talent with their overall team speed into a successful 2022 campaign.

“I’m excited for (2022),” she said. “I’m sure everyone will be out to get us. However, we have a lot of talent in our rising underclassmen, so I expect that we will continue to keep our competition on their toes.

“In general, our whole team has lots of speed. It will be one of our strengths moving on.”

Soltes offered a more reserved early approach to next season.

“I’m expecting our team to be competitive again, but I think the season can go either way,” she said. “Even though we are losing (a lot) of our roster, we know we have to show up again.”

One thing needed to be decided before next year will be Quickel’s spot on the diamond. Will it be in the outfield, middle infield or somewhere else?

“Honestly, I don’t expect to play anywhere specific (at this time),” she said. “My job on the team is to help us win games. Whether it be outfield or infield, I will be wherever coach Scott thinks is best to help put our team in that winning position.”

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