East Meadow part of title chase


East Meadow won 16 softball games a year ago but suffered an upset loss to Syosset in the Nassau Class AA semifinals.
Now, with six returning award-winners including First Team All-State pitcher Julia Parise, the Jets are looking to follow in the footsteps of the boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball programs and capture a county title.
“As much as I like our roster, I think it’s a wide-open race between four or five teams,” East Meadow coach Frank Baglivo said. “We want to be playing our best come playoff time.”
Two-time defending champion Massapequa, Syosset, Oceanside and Farmingdale figure to present the biggest hurdles for the Jets, who came up short in four of their first five.
Baglivo said he’ll be keeping a close eye on Parisi’s workload after she pitched 138 innings in 2023. “Julia had one of the best seasons by anyone in program history,” he said. “She was dominant at the plate and in the circle. She throws five pitches and has great speed and accuracy.”

Parisi had 14 wins, 175 strikeouts and a 1.61 ERA and batted a sizzling .459 with 4 homers, 11 doubles and 19 RBIs. She’ll primarily hit third in the order and be followed by senior Kayla Wakely, who earned Second Team All-State honors, and senior Honorable Mention All-County first baseman Madison Lehmann,
Wakely is also Parisi’s new battery mate. She played third base for the Jets for two years but has plenty of catching experience in travel ball, Baglivo said. “Kayla is coming off a big season and working on being more selective at the plate,” he said. Wakely batted .333 with 11 RBIs last spring.
Lehmann has been in the clean-up spot thus far and has a powerful swing that last season produced 13 RBIs and a .305 average. Taking over third base duties with Wakely’s shift to catcher is Katelyn Coffey, who Baglivo believes could be primed for a breakout year after batting .341 in 44 at-bats as a freshman.
Senior Brooke Errico will handle some of the pitching and play second base when Parisi throws. Errico was mostly limited to second base and designated hitter last season after suffering a broken finger, but it didn’t stop her from earning All-County honors. She batted .377 and is the quintessential No. 2 hitter, Baglivo said. “She’s a line-drive hitter with great bat control and bunts well,” he noted.
Freshman shortstop Gabriella Shepherd was last year’s JV pitcher and will serve as the third option to throw innings. She has speed and a smooth glove and is getting a hard look in the leadoff spot, Baglivo said.
East Meadow’s outfield is anchored by senior Melia Campbell, who has speed, a strong arm and gets a tremendous jump on flyballs. “She’s the best defensive outfielder in the county in my opinion,” Baglivo said. Senior Ariana Maniscalco is an All-County left fielder who batted .379 and made several highlight-reel defensive plays. Senior Charlotte Viola returned in right field and was a key part of the basketball team’s county and Long Island titles. Sophomore Gianna Ventura is up from JV and will also contribute.
“It’s a great group and we’re looking to go as far as we can,” Baglivo said.