Jack Vallario of St. Anthony's makes the play at shortstop...

Jack Vallario of St. Anthony's makes the play at shortstop against St. John the Baptist in South Huntington on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Jack Vallario was looking forward to using a fitting birthday gift this season for St. Anthony’s — a new baseball glove. Then the practices started, and this glove story didn’t end well. 

“I was using the glove and everything kept popping out and popping out,” Vallario said. “I was trying to hit it with the mallet, but it just wouldn’t work.

“So I just went back to my glove I used all year last year. I didn’t make an error [in the regular season] last year.”  

There’s a deeper meaning to the story, according to the senior shortstop’s coach.

“He wants to be perfect every day,” Paul Parsolano said. “He wants to make every play. Every swing he takes has got something behind it. He never takes a play off.”

Vallario's approach helped him earn NSCHSAA Player of the Year as a junior. The 5-10, 180-pound, Fordham-bound standout from Dix Hills would love to repeat.

“That was definitely my second goal,” Vallario said. “The first goal was definitely to win the championship. But, yeah, it’s a big-time thing to do that.”  

He has been even better this time around. 

His 2021 slash line was .405/.577/.676 across 14 games. The leadoff hitter’s 2022 slash line sat at .450/.551/.800 through his first 13 games. He had three doubles, four triples, a grand slam, 13 RBIs, eight steals and no errors for a team that was 8-2 in league play heading into the weekend.

Vallario cited his hard offseason work at Belding Performance in Hauppauge, putting on 20 pounds, and his experience facing good pitching in the league and in summer ball with the Long Island Titans. 

“He knows where the baseball is in the strike zone, and he’s going line to line,” Parsolano said. “Fastballs in, he’s pulling them. Breaking balls away, he’s driving to right-center. He’s just elevated his play …

“He’s a highly motivated kid. His best days are still in front of him. And he doesn’t take a day off. If he has a couple of bad at-bats, he’ll spend two hours after the game in his garage hitting. He’s that guy.”

Extra bases

Massapequa and Farmingdale are the top contenders in Nassau AA-I. They meet Monday at Farmingdale, Tuesday at Massapequa and Thursday at Farmingdale . . . Three players lead Long Island in home runs with five; Dylan Banner of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Sean Hamilton of Rocky Point and Michael Zeis of Glenn have all been swinging a powerful stick. Mike Schlieder of Miller Place, James Asmus of New Hyde Park and Riobert Pericolosi of South Side all have four round trippers.

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