Meet the players selected to Newsday's 2013 All-Long Island softball team.
Long Island Player of the Year
Catcher, Bay Shore, senior
Respected at the plate and feared behind it. With a bat in her hands, the University of Mississippi-bound catcher was intentionally walked ten times. When the catcher's mask was down, not a single base runner stole on her during the season. Offensively, Syrett hit .493 with nine home runs, 33 RBIs and an astronomical slugging percentage of 1.123. No surprise considering Syrett has been driving the ball to all fields during her four-year varsity career. Defensively, only one runner attempted to test her arm all season and was thrown out by about 10 feet. No surprise considering Syrett's pop time, or the amount of time it takes for a catcher to throw to second base on a steal attempt, has been clocked at 1.7 seconds. Syrett, who helped lead Bay Shore to a state championship in 2010 and two county titles, earns her third consecutive first-team All-Long Island selection. "This program has been my life," Syrett said after her final game. "It's been something special to be a part of."
Nassau Player of the Year
Shortstop, MacArthur, senior
Her coach calls her the most athletic person to ever walk through the doors at MacArthur, male or female. The three-sport star, also a state championship winning goalkeeper in soccer and an all-around talent in basketball, hit .422 with eight home runs, 24 RBIs and nine stolen bases while leading MacArthur to the county championship series for the second straight season. Bound for the University of Massachusetts, Cozza is a three-time All-Long Island selection and follows Kristen Brown as the second straight MacArthur product to be named Nassau's top player.
Pitcher, Commack, senior
The two-time League I Pitcher of the Year, bound for New Paltz, went 11-1 with a 0.97 ERA, 86 strikeouts and a no-hitter. She also had four shutouts and a 10-0 League I record to help the Cougars win the league championship. She batted .492, with a .651 OBP, and 24 RBIs.
Pitcher, Half Hollow Hills West, junior
Casalino led the county in strikeouts (240) and ERA (0.75) while helping the Colts become co-League IV champs. She went 15-4 overall, walking only 34 batters in 135 innings pitched, en route to being named the League IV pitcher of the year for the second consecutive season. She also led the team in batting average (.503) and RBIs (27).
Shortstop, East Meadow, senior
The best season of the Adelphi-bound shortstop's career came in her sixth and final year. She hit .479 with 17 RBIs and 25 runs scored, including a 3-for-4 performance with a solo home run in the county championship game. She helped lead East Meadow to its first Long Island championship.
Pitcher, Kellenberg, senior
The Oneonta-bound pitcher started the season as the replacement for the two-time CHSAA pitcher of the year. She finished it by tossing a no-hitter in the state semifinal and, later that afternoon, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning to lead Kellenberg to a second straight state title. Went 16-4 with a 0.95 ERA and 177 strikeouts, and hit .429 with 20 RBIs.
Pitcher, Bay Shore, senior
The Bentley-bound pitcher was named large school pitcher of the year for the second consecutive season after leading the county in wins (18), striking out 178 batters and tossing seven shutouts. She logged 113 innings, allowing only 61 hits, 23 walks and 18 earned runs for a 1.11 ERA. She also batted .508, with four homers and 28 RBIs.
Pitcher, St. John the Baptist, senior
Became the first pitcher to beat Kellenberg in a league game in nearly three years, then went on to do it twice more this season. The CHSAA pitcher of the year went 11-3 with a 1.20 ERA and held opponents to a .121 batting average while leading the Cougars to within one win of a league title.
Second base, Kellenberg, sophomore
Hit, slapped and bunted her way on base as the catalyst atop the order for the two-time CHSAA state champions. She hit .455 with 20 RBIs and 27 runs scored and showed great instinct on the base paths, stealing 11 bases and regularly taking extra bases, including a bunt double in the state title game.
Second base, Longwood, sophomore
Mele played a large role in guiding Longwood to its first county crown this season. The sophomore second baseman hit .411 with 10 doubles, two triples, a homer, 14 RBIs and 37 runs. She made 42 putouts in the field for a fielding percentage of .926, with 33 assists in 81 total chances.
Pitcher, Seaford, senior
After missing her junior season because of back surgery, she vowed to regain her All-Long Island form of 2011. She homered in her first at-bat of the season and went on to hit .717 with nine homers, 45 RBIs, 27 walks and 21 stolen bases. She hit for the cycle in one game and pitched a no-hitter in the next. She heads to Michigan a three-time first-team All-Long Island selection.
Pitcher, East Meadow, junior
After tossing one-hitters in both the county championship clincher and the Long Island championship, she brought East Meadow within one win of its first state title after striking out 13 and driving in six runs. Hit .514 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs and went 17-5, including 12 shutouts and a no-hitter, with a 1.39 ERA and 214 strikeouts.
Pitcher, Mepham, junior
When she tossed a no-hitter in April, she was referred to as Valeriano-no. When she tossed a one-hitter, which she did four times, she was called ValeriUNO. Named the Nassau large school pitcher of the year, Valeriano finished 11-6 with a 1.01 ERA, 203 strikeouts and nine shutouts while leading Mepham to the county semifinals.
Nassau Coach of the Year, Kellenberg
Guided the Firebirds to a second straight CHSAA state title, but this time had to come out of the loser's bracket. To do so they won four straight do-or-die games to advance to the state tournament. In order to overcome St. John the Baptist, a team that had defeated Kellenberg three times this season, Conrade preached patience and discipline at the plate, which helped the Firebirds beat the Cougars two straight games to win the league title.
Suffolk Coach of the Year, Longwood
In her first season as varsity coach, Legnon led the Lions to the first county championship in program history. As the third seed in the Class AA playoffs, Longwood (21-4) won two road games over top-seeded Bay Shore to capture the crown, before falling to East Meadow in the Long Island championship. She's joined by a staff of Alicia Smith, Chris McKenzie, Joe Calarco and Kristine Puzio.
The 2013 Newsday All-Long Island softball team. Front row, from left: Kerri Shapiro, East Meadow; Michelle DeVito, Bay Shore; Francesca Casalino, Half Hollow Hills West; Courtney Syrett, Bay Shore; Danielle Cutuli, East Meadow. Middle row, from left: Sofia Evangelista, St. John the Baptist; Lindsay Montemarano, Seaford; Sabrina DeAngelis, Kellenberg; Leah Mele, Longwood; Kiersten Carlomagno, Commack. Back row, from left: Ken Conrade, Kellenberg; Krista King, Kellenberg; Tonimarie Valeriano, Mepham; Jena Cozza, MacArthur; Jackie Legnon, Longwood.
All-Long Island second team: Alannah Basile, Island Trees, P, Jr. (pictured); Sarah Cornell, Clarke, P, Fr.; Amanda Crimarco, Kellenberg, SS, Sr.; Taylor Curran, Plainedge, C, Jr.; Dolores Diemicke, Plainedge, 1B, Sr.; Chelsea Hawks, Shoreham-Wading River, P, Sr.; Annie Kennedy, Rocky Point, P, Sr.; Noel Lent, Longwood, SS, Sr.; Kayla McCoy, Smithtown West, SS/3B, Sr.; Julia McNeill, Hauppauge, 2B, Sr.; Ashley Melendez, Island Trees, 1B/P, Soph.; Lori Michalowski, Lindenhurst, RF, Sr.; Sabrina Riley, Deer Park, SS, Sr.; Emily Sellitti, Sayville, SS, Sr.; Renee Vaiano, Massapequa, P, Sr.; Madison West, East Meadow, C, Jr.