Floyd softball player Kiara Bellido poses on her home field at...

Floyd softball player Kiara Bellido poses on her home field at Floyd High School on March 26. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

It seems to come naturally for Kiara Bellido. The ability to turn around outfielders and have them watch the ball go over the fence is nothing new.

“The power has always been there, it’s just increased over time” said Bellido, a senior shortstop on the Floyd softball team. “Hitting the gym to get stronger and practicing have helped that.”

She hit seven home runs a season ago and 10 as a sophomore. And they aren’t wall-scrapers. When Bellido gets her pitch, it clears the fence by a wide margin. That ability is a big reason why offers from Division I came rolling in. Bellido ultimately chose Syracuse.

“I didn’t know much about Syracuse until I did a visit. Once I did, I loved it,” Bellido said. “The coaches were supportive and everyone was fun to be around. The girls got along and had good energy, it was the perfect environment.”

The strength is eye-catching, but Bellido is far from an all-or-nothing hitter. The reigning Suffolk Large School Player of the Year hit .589, with seven doubles and 18 RBIs. In her sophomore season, she was named League I Player of the Year, hitting .611 with nine doubles, 35 RBIs and a 1.444 slugging percentage.

“When I’m at the plate, I’m thinking nothing high. I want to stay back and wait on the ball,” Bellido said. “Good pitch selection is key to hitting. I don’t want to swing at pitches that I can’t drive.”

The picture of a dominant player becomes complete with her glove. Bellido shows outstanding athleticism at shortstop. In the travel ball circuit, her versatility is on display. She can play at third base and excels as a catcher, which is the position Syracuse took note of.

Despite Bellido’s superb year, Floyd failed to make the playoffs last season. The previous year she played in two playoff games and hit three home runs. One of those games was a 7-5 loss against West Islip, when she hit two home runs and drove in all five runs. She ended last year in a similar fashion, hitting two home runs in the final game of the regular season, a 4-3 loss to Riverhead.

“It’s a big goal to get back to the playoffs. We’ve been working on communication in the field during practice and that’s important,” Bellido said. “As a personal goal, I’d love to surpass my 10-home run season.”

Bellido isn’t the only senior looking to show power at the collegiate level next year.

Northport's Zoey Nussbaum hits a home run in the fourth...

Northport's Zoey Nussbaum hits a home run in the fourth inning during a Suffolk softball game against Whitman on April 19, 2023 at Whitman. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Zoey Nussbaum routinely flashed her ability to launch the ball for Northport, connecting on five home runs last season. Nussbaum possesses a blend of power and speed, also swiping 23 bases. She will play Division I softball in the Northeast Conference next season, at St. Francis University (Pa.).

“She’s certainly a strong hitter and when she connects you see the power,” Northport coach Kim Michaluk said. “She’s a good player, with a lot of talent and that’s why she’ll be playing D-I next year.”

Jaclyn Morra, St. Anthony's shortstop, plates a run with a...

Jaclyn Morra, St. Anthony's shortstop, plates a run with a single during the bottom of the sixth inning of the CHSAA state final against St. Joseph by the Sea at Hofstra on May 30, 2023. Credit: James Escher

Jackie Morra’s bat has helped St. Anthony’s remain a powerhouse and next season she will take that bat to Villanova. The shortstop hit three home runs and 13 doubles last season. Morra drove in 41 runs and was named the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA player of the year.

“She has great bat speed, with consistent extra-base power,” St. Anthony’s coach Mike Massa said. “She makes good, solid contact and always produces in big spots.”

Gianna Nicastro of Calhoun fouls the ball during a Nassau...

Gianna Nicastro of Calhoun fouls the ball during a Nassau softball game on April 15, 2023 in Levittown. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Morra will see Calhoun’s Gianna Nicastro for some Big East battles at the next level. Nicastro will play for St. John’s next season. Nicastro has hit 11 home runs over the past two seasons. She is a big source of Calhoun’s power, leading the team in home runs and RBIs the past three seasons.

“She’s really developed and come into her own,” Calhoun coach Michael Pisano said. “She will be an essential piece to our success this year.”

Julia Parise of East Meadow drives an RBI single during...

Julia Parise of East Meadow drives an RBI single during a Nassau softball game against MacArthur on April 28, 2023, in East Meadow. Credit: Dawn McCormick

East Meadow’s Julia Parise has had the opportunity to pitch to Nicastro as both play in Nassau’s top conference. Parise can dominate with the ball in her hand but can change the game just as quickly with her bat. The Southern New Hampshire commit crushed four home runs last season.

“Julia is extremely selective. When she gets her pitch, she doesn’t get cheated,” East Meadow coach Frank Baglivo said. “She has incredible bat speed and does a great job incorporating her lower half in her swing.”

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