Softball - Staff


Jamie Apicella - Head of Softball Operations

Jamie brings over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, transforming the LIU Post program into a nationally-competitive team and becoming one of the most accomplished coaches in the region.  Jamie has ranked in the top-20 among active Division II coaches in total victories (18th) and winning percentage (17th), and is LIU's all-time winningest coach. The Pioneers have won nine East Coast Conference titles and have qualified for the NCAA Championships 19 times under his leadership.   

Jamie led the Pioneers to capture the East Region title and advance to the College World Series 5 times in his career.  He has mentored 20 All-Americans and 124 all-conference selections, including 33 Players of the Year and one National Player of the Year. 

With success comes recognition, and Jamie has received many honors for his coaching accomplishments. He and his coaching staff have been honored as NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year 7 times. He was also voted Coach of the Year 5 times in his career.

As a collegiate athlete, Jamie was a three-year standout baseball player for LIU Post, compiling a batting average of over .350 with 21 home runs and 126 runs batted in for his career. His 49 RBIs in 1994 ranks as the fifth-best single-season total in school history, while his 113 total bases rank fourth. After his junior season, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1994. Jamie was inducted into the LIU Post Baseball Hall of Fame in February 2000, and was inducted into the Smithtown Hall of Fame in 2008.

John Forneiro - Coach

John was a D1 pitcher at Northeastern University (NU) in Boston, MA.  In 1994, John posted a 7-1 record with a 2.20 ERA (28th in country), helping lead his team to a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship and a birth to the NCAA Regionals at the University of Tennessee.  John racked up multiple ECAC and NAC pitcher of the week awards and was twice voted to the New England All Star team.  As a senior captain in 1996, John became the only pitcher in NU history to throw 2 no hitters, one against nationally ranked FAU and one against Hofstra.  John held his opponents to a .175 batting average hurling 9 complete games in 10 starts.  John was named the 1996 NU Student Athlete of the Year.  John was selected 2 consecutive summers to play for Hyannis of the Cape Cod league, the most competitive and prestigious college summer league in the country.  John finished his career with a 3.36 ERA over 200+ innings.  John is 4th in NU history for wins in a season (7), 4th in career complete games (19), 2nd in career shutouts (4) and 10th in fewest hits per nine innings in a season (5.74).  John was an Academic All-American, graduating from NU Summa Cum Laude with an Accounting/Business Administration degree.

Prior to that John was a member of the only team in Smithtown High School history to win a State Championship in 1990, in which he was the winning pitcher of the State Championship Final.  An accomplished local talent, John was inducted into the Smithtown Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

In recent years John has coached numerous local teams, run softball clinics and private training, and helped restart the Kings Park Youth Lady Knights travel softball program which now fields competitive local teams from 8u-18u where he was head coach of the 18u team.  In the fall of 2020, John became the head coach of Team Beast 16u which was the first Team Beast Softball squad fielded at any level.
 

Leah Mele - Coach

Leah was a standout SS/2B for the LIU Post Softball team between the years of 2016 – 2019. She was a two-time selection to the ECC All Conference Teams. She was a career .307 hitter with an outstanding fielding percentage of .964. Listed below are Leah’s career highlights and accolades. We are excited to have Leah a part of Team Beast Softball. She will work side-by-side with Jamie Apicella developing our infielders and assisting with our hitting philosophy throughout the organization.

 2019:

  • Second Team All-ECC
  • Started all 62 appearances
  • Tallied 11 multi-hit games
  • Ranked 27th in Division II, striking out just once every 31.2 at-bats
  • Struck out just five times during 156 at-bats
  • Compiled a .301 average with 47 hits, six doubles, and four home runs
  • Scored 36 runs and drove in 21 runs
  • Hit her first career home run against Adelphi (Mar. 14)
  • Hit a walk-off home run against Wilmington (Mar. 24)
  • Drove in four runs with a grand slam against Dominican (Mar. 28)
  • Scored three runs during game two against Queens (Apr. 28)
  • Recorded one hit against Young Harris in the NCAA National Championship


2018: Selected to the All-ECC first-team … Started all 57 games, hitting .333 with 58 hits and 27 runs batted in … recorded a 13-game hitting streak … tallied 14 multi-hit games, including a four-hit outing against American International … drove in three runs against Georgian Court and American International … scored a pair of runs to help lead the Pioneers past Bridgeport and NYIT.
 
2017: Started in 15 contests before missing the remainder of the season due to injury … hit .243 with nine hits and two doubles … ripped three hits and drove in two runs in a win against Saint Anselm … scored a pair of runs against Minnesota Duluth … doubled and drove in a run against Mercy.

2016: Started all 53 games for the Pioneers at shortstop … batted .301 on the season in a team-high 183 at-bats … was second on the team in hits (53) and assists (133) …third on the team in on-base percentage (.365) … fourth in doubles (8) and total bases (63) … went a perfect 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored in a 10-2 win over Felician (Mar. 9) … hit 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and run scored in a 4-0 victory against NYIT (Apr. 17) … had an impressive 3-for-4, two-RBI performance against NYIT (Apr. 20).

Prior to LIU Post: Played five seasons of varsity softball at Longwood High School ... four-time All-County selection ... two-time All-Long Island honoree (2013 & 2015) .. named Player of the Year, All-Region and All-State as a sophomore ... garnered Rookie of the Year and All-League honors in eighth grade ... boasted a .458 batting average, .556 on-base percentage, .644 slugging percentage and .987 fielding percentage in her senior season ... struck out in only one plate appearance from 2013-15.



Alex Russo - Coach & Catching/Hitting Specialist
Alex was a standout catcher for the Molloy College Softball team between the years of 2015 – 2018. She was part of the battery that lead Molloy College to the 2017 NCAA Division II College World Series. Offensively, Alex had a knack for getting the big hit on the biggest stages. Had a walk off homerun in the 2017 NCAA East Regional to advance the Lions to the Super Regionals in 2017, giving them a chance to win the Regional Crown and advance to the World Series that year. Listed below are Alex’s career highlights and accolades. We are excited to have Alex a part of Team Beast Softball. She will work side-by-side with Jamie Apicella developing our catchers and assisting with our hitting philosophy throughout the organization.

2018: Started all 55 games behind the plate...Drove in 23 runs on 33 hits, six doubles, and two home runs, hitting at .217...Drove in a season-high three runs with a home run in a 3-0 victory against New York Institute of Technology (Apr. 15)...Added a second home run against the Bears (Mar. 31), driving in two runs in a 6-4 victory...Hit a game-winning two-run single against Caldwell (Apr. 22)...Totaled 228 putouts and 35 assists, fielding at .992...Threw out 21 of 24 attempted steals.

2017: Started 54 contests behind the plate for the maroon and white…Drove in 16 runs on 40 hits, eight doubles, and two home runs while scoring 14 runs…Averaged .255 at the plate while slugging at .344 with an on base percentage of .295…Went a season-best 3-for-5 in a win against Stonehill (Mar. 12)…Drove in two runs with a homer to win the NCAA East 2 Region, sending the team to Super Regionals…Threw out 12 runners attempting steals and totaled 339 putouts for a .989 fielding percentage on the year.

2016: Started 54 games and played in 56 primarily serving as the team's catcher ... Hit. 283 with two home runs, 10 doubles and 37 RBIs ... Posted a .993 fielding percentage behind the plate ... Drove in a season-high five home runs with a double and home run against NYIT on Mar. 24 ... Hit a grand slam as part of a nine-run inning versus Dominican (N.Y.) on Apr. 11 ... Went 3-for-5 with three RBIS in a win over Bridgeport on Mar. 30.

2015: In 51 games, she had a .338 average with 17 RBI's...She went three-for-three with three RBI's off of one home run against St. Thomas Aquinas (Mar. 28)...Ranked 20th on the team with 45 hits and was eighth in the ECC with 35...Selected to the ECC Softball Weekly Honor Roll.

Prior to Molloy: Member of the Longwood High School varsity softball team...In her freshman season, the team went 16-5...Sophomore year: 19-3 and a Suffolk County Championship...Junior year: 21-4, a Suffolk County Championship and a Long Island Championship...Senior year: 15-6...Named All-League in 2012...Tabbed All-Division, Bulldog and NFCA East Region Second Team in 2013...Selected All-County and MVP in 2014.

Tracey Balinskas - Pitching Specialist
Tracey was a NJ native standout pitcher for the Molloy College Softball team between the years of 2013 – 2016. She was East Coast Conference Softball Scholar Athlete of the year in 2016. She was an integral part of the 2013 Molloy softball team that competed in the Division II College World Series. Attaining Tracey as part of the program sets us apart from all other organizations on Long Island. Tracey is currently an elementary school teacher in Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District, in addition to her duties with Team Beast Softball. We are excited to have her and we want to welcome Tracey to the organization.

2016: All-East Region honoree by both the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association and the Conference Commissioner's Association ... East Coast Conference Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year ... Co-Most Outstanding Player of the ECC Tournament ... All-ECC First Team honoree ... 2016 ECC Preseason Player of the Year ... ECC Player of the Week on Feb. 22 ... ECC Weekly Honor Roll inductee on Apr. 4 ... became the all-time leader in career doubles hit with 17 this season and 63 in her four-year career with the Lions ... batted .389 in 58 games played with a team-high 75 hits, eight home runs and a .622 slugging percentage to go along with a .451 on-base percentage ... drove in 40 runs, good for second on the team, and was walked a team-high 21 times ... also went 11-8 in the pitcher's circle with a 4.08 earned-run average ... appeared in 24 games and started 12, tossing seven complete games and recording a save ... twirled 119 innings with 89 strikeouts ... pitched six innings of three-hit ball while striking out three versus Georgian Court on Mar. 9 ... had a season-high nine strikeouts while getting a 5-4 win versus Lock Haven on Feb. 19, allowing four runs and five hits over 6.2 innings ... went 3-for-4 with two home runs and two RBIs against Bridgeport on Mar. 30 ... had three hits and four RBIs against Queens College (Apr. 2) ... collected 21 multi-hit games.

2015: As a pitcher she went 12-11 with a 3.58 ERA with 120 strikeouts... She won four consecutive games in a row ( Apr. 14 - Apr. 18 )...As a hitter, she had a .461 average with 39 RBI's in 51 games... She went two-for-three with five RBI's off two home runs against Mercy College (Apr. 18)... Ranked first on the team with 17 doubles while rankeing second in the ECC with nine... Won the 2015 ECC Player of the Year... Named to the Daktronics All-America Honorable Mention Team... CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District First Team recipient... Named to the NFCA All-East Region Second Team... Daktronics All-East Region First Team ... NFCA Scholar-Athlete.2014: Named to the NFCA All-East Region Second-Team and the East Coast Conference First-Team. Started all 52 games that she stepped on the field in. Led Molloy with 18 doubles and a .992 fielding percentage. Ranked second on the Lions with 47 runs scored…was third on Molloy’s roster in homeruns (6), SLG% (.604), OB% (.451)…Slotted in fourth on the squad with a .370…In the circle, she was second on the squad with a 14-8 record, appearing in 35 games and staring 19 of them. Led the team with a 3.48 ERA, 3 saves while opponents batted just .279 against her. Tossed 151.0 innings punching out 77 batters....Achieved 14 multi-hit games... Offensively, ranked second in the ECC in doubles and top 10 in both RBIs and SLG%... In the circle, Balinskas ranked 3rd in saves, 5th in IP, 6th in wins, and top 10 in both Ks and ERA… On April 9, was named the Louisville Slugger/ NFCA Division II National Player of the Week. Hit an incredible .704 (19-for-27) over an eight-game stretch (3/29-4/6) with 14 RBIs, 13 runs scored, two homers, four doubles and four walks. In the circle, went 4-0 over five appearances with 11 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched…Went a combined 6-7, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs and 3 runs in a double header sweep of Mercy (4/3) Tracey also tossed 5 innings in the DH opener victory…At the plate, went 4-5, hitting a homerun, two doubles and driving in three runs at Bridgeport (4/5). Went a perfect 5-5 with 2 RBI at Dowling (3/27)…In the circle, struck out a season high 7 batters versus American International (3/22)…Tossed her lone shutout of the season, 7-0 with 4 K’s against NYIT. Picked up the save after 2 innings of 1-hit ball to advance Molloy to the ECC Championship game (4/17).2013: Named to All-East Coast Conference First Team...as a pitcher, she appeared in five games and started three... went 2-0, with one complete game....  had six strikeouts in 13 innings of work... Earned East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week honors in April...selected to ECC Weekly Honor Roll on April 30...as a position player, she played in all 67 games... finished second on the team in runs scored (43), homes (6), triples (2), doubles (11) and slugging percentage (.513)...fourth in batting average (.342)...Went 2-for-3 with an RBI in a 2-0 win over Alderson-Broaddus ... notched a 2-for-3 outing with a run scored in a 4-0 shutout at Bentley on March 11... Went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI  in a 5-1 win over Le Moyne on March 17...  In a 4-2 win over Southern N.H., she rocketed a solo home run ...in second game of doubleheader versus Southern N.H., she went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored ... finished 2-for-2 with a solo home run in a 9-2 win at Queens... put forth a 2-for-3 performance with an RBI in a 7-3 win over NYIT March 29...in second game of that twinbill, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored...went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in an 8-2 win over Dowling on March 30... turned in a 2-for-4 showing with two runs scored in a 9-8 win over Dowling on April 16...  Went 1-for-3 hitting a two-run home run in a 4-0 win over Bloomsburg on April 20...  Went a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in a 10-3 win over Mercy on April 23...Finished 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs in an 8-0 win over Mercy on April 23... Went 3-for-3 driving in two runs and scoring twice in an 11-0 win over Dowling on May 2...Finished 1-for-2 with two runs driven in by way of a 7-0 triumph over Adelphi on May 17 in the NCAA Division II East Super Regional ... went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a 5-4 win on May 23 against Valdosta State in the NCAA Division II National Championship.Prior To Molloy: Attended Edison High School in Edison, N.J., where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Eagles…Received the 2009 Coaches Award, 2010 Most Improved Player Award, 2011 Co-Most Valuable Player Award, and 2012 Co-MVP and Captains’ Award...Was named to the All-Greater Middlesex Conference First-Team in 2011 and 2012, All-Red Division First-Team (2010-12), All-Area First-Team (2011-12) and All-Group IV Second-Team (2011-12).

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