Mepham a work in progress


Coming off an unimaginable ending to the 2023 Nassau County baseball season, Mepham will be chasing the standings in Conference AA-1 after failing to take a game from upstart Long Beach last week.

The Pirates managed a darkness-forced 7-7 tie in the series opener with the Marines but were held to five runs total in the next two games while allowing 18.

“We played poorly against Long Beach and to their credit, they really hit the ball especially the top four guys in the lineup,” Mepham coach Eric Passman said. “We graduated most of our starters from last year so we’re a work in progress. We’ll get better as we go.”

Last spring, Mepham ranked among Nassau’s winningest clubs with 19 victories but was bounced in the Class A semifinals by neighboring Calhoun via a walk-off grand slam by the Colts’ Joey Goodman in the bottom of the seventh inning of the decisive third game.

The Pirates returned only a handful starters, led by last year’s breakout star senior first baseman Kieran Kehoe, and Passman is optimistic despite the slow start. In addition to Long Beach, the conference consists of Great Neck South, Herricks, Jericho and MacArthur.

“We expect to be playoff contenders,” Passman said. “Our control has been off on the mound so far and we haven’t hit consistently. It’s early and its cold, but before we know it it’ll be late. We just have to keep working.”

The 6-foot-6 Kehoe is coming off one of the best seasons in Nassau baseball history. He batted .710 with 3 homers, 43 RBIs and went down on strikes only three times. Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia) commit is also a tremendous defensive player, Passman said.

“I’ve been coaching 50 years and never had a kid make that kind of hard contact and be almost impossible to strike out,” Passman said. “Kieran had a good sophomore season hitting over .300 and then just exploded last year. I can’t wait to see what he does this season and is his college career.”

Senior center fielder Steven Mulqueen is an All-County talent and protecting Kehoe in the order. “He’s a masher and a great athlete,” Passman said of Mulqueen. “He hits the ball hard and has a gun for an arm.”

Moving forward, the starting pitching staff consists of senior Kiran Paingankar and sophomores Jaiden Zollar and Brayden Seligman. The latter is the Pirates’ primary third basemen set to make his first start on the mound this week against Great Neck South. Zollar, who bats in the leadoff spot, plays left field on non-pitching days. Senior Conor Myllet is the vocal leader of the infield from behind the plate.

The middle infield defense has looked solid so far, Passman said, with senior Sal Visone at shortstop and sophomore James Quilty at second base.