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Softball

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Erica Hickey gets a base hit. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue’s softball team continued its winning ways when the Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back, outscoring Islip 10-4 April 3 to improve to 3-0 this in League VIII.

Emily Whitman throws an Islip runner out at first sitting on the mound. Photo by Bill Landon

The Warriors bats went to work from the opening pitch, and although Islip threatened in the bottom of the second, the team failed to capitalize with a runner on third. In the top of the third, Emily Whitman hit a homerun over the centerfield fence to put her team out front, 4-0.

“I thought they were stronger from last year even though they lost a lot of key players, but this year we came ready to win, and we did,” she said. “Our hitting — we were definitely all over that pitcher today.”

Islip broke the ice in the bottom of the third, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly, but couldn’t maintain the momentum, stranding two runners at the end of the inning.

Alyssa Bono’s bat cracked next, as she slammed her own first pitch past center field for a 5-1 lead.

“I thought we would have a good game against Islip — we lost twice to them last year when I was on JV so I knew this would be a hard game to win,” Bono said. “I thought we played well all around.”

Taylor Graves kept the inning alive when she ripped a double into deep right field, plating teammate Erica Hickey for a 6-1 advantage. Whitman kept the inning alive and smacked the ball through the gap in right center for a double that brought home Graves. Whitman took off to third base and narrowly beat the tag, looking to finish what she’d started. Julia Keller was up next, and patient at the plate. She found one she liked, and jumped on it, knocking a home run over center field for a 9-1 lead.

Alyssa Bono catches an infield popup. Photo by Bill Landon

“I thought they’d come out a lot stronger,” Keller said of Islip. “We came in as the underdog, and we won. We’ll keep on hitting, but it’s our team bonding that wins games.”

Whitman took over on the mound for starting pitcher Alexa Murray in the bottom of the fifth, and retired the side in order.

Comsewogue went back to work threatening in the top of the sixth inning with runners on first and second, and as Murray stepped into the box, Graves was caught stealing to end the inning.

With their backs against the wall, Islip loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth following a pair of walks. Another walk sent home a run, a base hits scored two more to trail 9-4. With two outs, Islip drilled one right at Whitman, who was knocked down but able to stop the ball. Sitting on the ground from behind the mound, she made the throw to first in time for the out that ended the inning.

“Emily Whitman is unique — she’s one of the best players in the county and I’ll go to battle with her every time,” Comsewogue head coach Jason Surdi said. “When you have someone like Emily Whitman on your team, you have a chance to win every single game.”

Taylor Graves makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon

With Patricia Kelly on second, Donna Scarth got the job done as she laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Kelly over to third, and Hickey finished it with a base hit that brought home another insurance one.

“This is a big win for this team — Islip is a perennial power, they’ve been in the county finals the past two years,” Surdi said. “I don’t know when the last time that Comsewogue has had a win against a county finalist — it could be 20-25 years so this is a big win for this program.”

With three outs left in the game, Islip would not answer as the Warriors handed the Buccaneers their first loss of the season.

“We’ve had a great start to the year,” Surdi said. “We have a lot of young players that have stepped up and right now we’re kicking on all cylinders.”

The team will play another powerhouse in Sayville April 5 at 4 p.m. Comsewogue will then travel to Rocky Point April 10 for a 10 a.m. matchup before hosting Miller Place at the same time April 12.

Stony Brook softball player Danni Kemp died after a battle with cancer. Photo from SBU

The Stony Brook family is mourning the loss of student-athlete Danni Kemp, who passed away on the morning of March 10 surrounded by family following her battle with cancer.

The Seawolves, who had dedicated their softball season to the sophomore, 19, postponed March 10 games against Santa Clara and New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Danni Kemp up to bat for the Seawolves. Photo from SBU

“Our hearts are heavy today and our love goes out to Danni and her family,” Stony Brook softball coach Megan Bryant said. “In all too short of a young life, Danni touched so many in a beautiful way. She fought so hard against this terrible disease, and showed us what true courage is. May Danni only know peace now.”

In July, Kemp was hit in the head by a pitch while playing in a summer league game. When she began feeling dizzy, had trouble focusing and couldn’t keep her balance, doctors tested her for a concussion. An MRI revealed a cancerous brain tumor.

Due to the location, surgery was not an option, and Kemp began radiation therapy Aug. 29, receiving treatment Monday through Friday for a total of six weeks.

A GoFundMe page was created on behalf of the family Aug. 22, and in six months had raised nearly $130,000 of the $150,000 goal, with donations from 1,575 people.

“Danni is the toughest young woman we have all ever met,” wrote Bradley Taylor, who created the GoFundMe page. “Her strong and indomitable will has already proven to be more than enough to battle and beat a rare kidney disease while she was in high school. This will be a battle, but with so many people who know and love Danni and her family, they’ve got an army behind them.”

Since her death, hundreds more dollars have poured in from those touched by the loss of Kemp, even those who didn’t know her.

“I felt very sad when I read the story,” wrote John Colombo.

Janis Matton was also saddened upon hearing the news.

“I am so very sorry for your loss,” she wrote. “Danni was truly an inspiration to all. Prayers for your family.”

“We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

—Kevin Kernan

Kemp hit .446 as a junior for J.A. Foran High School in Connecticut en route to All-Conference and first team All-State honors. In her first three seasons at Foran, she collected more than 100 hits and 40 stolen bases. She was also a member of the Connecticut Charmers, an Under-18 fast pitch showcase team coached by Neil Swanchak.

As a Seawolf, she scored her first career hit against Charlotte University Feb. 20 of last year; had a double and scored a run at Florida Atlantic University Feb. 26; had two hits, including a bases-clearing double in a win over Columbia University Feb. 27; walked twice and drove in a run at Manhattan College March 30; drew three walks in another contest; and walked and scored a run at the University of Massachusetts Lowell April 16.

Kemp’s death had an impact that reverberated beyond just her softball family. After news of her death spread around campus, many student-athletes took to social media.

Tiffany Zullo, a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team from Connetquot High School, tweeted: “We all play for Danni and will forever be Danni Strong. Rest in peace to a beautiful soul.”

Kevin Kernan, a baseball pitcher, posted, “We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

Details for services will be forthcoming once the Kemp family makes arrangements.

“Danni had her entire life in front of her,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. “I am devastated beyond words and heartbroken for her family and everyone who loved her. Her valiant fight over the past several months was an inspiration to all of us, and her impact on the Stony Brook Athletics family will be felt for many years to come.”

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Jackie Brown sends the ball up the field. Photo by Carla Sciara

By Desirée Keegan

The relationship between a star player and a coach can sometimes be complicated, but when they’re immediate family members, a special bond is needed to achieve success.

Jackie Brown’s athletic career has been unique — her mother Deb Brown has been coaching her for five years in both field hockey and softball at Port Jefferson high school, and was her basketball coach for two years. Despite having her mother as coach, playing time and accolades were never handed to her.

Jackie Brown was Long Island's leading goal scorer, and led in overall points this season. Photo by Carla Sciara
Jackie Brown was Long Island’s leading goal scorer, and led in overall points this season. Photo by Carla Sciara

“If anything, she’s probably had to work even harder with me being her coach,” Deb Brown said. “I hold her to a higher standard, and I put more pressure on her than anyone else. For instance, in practice, she does the most push-ups.”

Brown recalled a game when her daughter had a one-on-one with a goalkeeper and she told her daughter to do one move, but she did another. “I’m yelling at her, and that’s when the parent in me comes out,” she said. “As beautiful as it was, the ball did not go in.”

Jackie Brown said the constant push has aided her success in sports, especially field hockey.

“It’s definitely interesting,” she said of their relationship, laughing. “Sometimes I tried to step over her and she puts me in my place, but what’s great is we got to talk about all of the games afterward whether it’s me saying something bad or her giving me something to work on. She teaches me new things every year.”

Brown first picked up a field hockey stick at 6 years old. From there, she became involved in clinics and played for East End Field Hockey travel team. She decided to try clinics in basketball and softball, too, and joined the Long Island Bandits fast-pitch travel softball team.

“Believe it or not I thought she would gear toward softball,” Deb Brown said. “But she just loved field hockey so much. It’s been fun watching her grow as a player.”

Jackie Brown said field hockey ran in her blood thanks to regular visits as a young girl to the field with her mother, who has been coaching at Port Jefferson for 27 years. She said the style of the sport felt like a fit for her.

“It wasn’t the sport everyone else was playing, and I liked how you had to move the ball a certain way and work with your teammates,” Jackie Brown said. “A lot I learned from field hockey, like field position and power, also helped me play softball and basketball.”

Speaking of power, the midfielder and forward has a strong shot, along with the knowledge of nuances needed to score, which helped her become Long Island’s leading goal scorer and leader in overall points this season.

Jackie Brown is hoisted up by the 2007 Royals field hockey team following the Long Island championship. Photo from Nancy Gallagher
Jackie Brown is hoisted up by the 2007 Royals field hockey team following the Long Island championship. Photo from Nancy Gallagher

“Besides just having a good shot — a hard hit and accurate — her ability to read the defense and the goalkeeper makes it much easier for her to get around them and beat them,” Port Jefferson assistant coach Nancy Gallagher said.

Gallagher is also in a special position. She played for Deb Brown and graduated from Port Jefferson in 2010. She first met Jackie when the coach’s daughter would come to games when Gallagher was a player. The assistant coach remembered the team hoisting her up on their shoulders following big wins, and the girls would teach her the tricks of the trade.

“She’d practice, and I’d tell her to do it 100 times in a row if she wanted to get better, and she was so eager to learn that she’d sit there on the sidelines doing it 100 times in a row,” Gallagher said. “She’s the ideal player to coach because not only does she have the athletic ability to pick up skills quickly, but she’s also willing to put in the time and energy to make it an instinctive part of her play.”

Gallagher said the athlete not only knows the skills, but she understands what skills are used when and why, and then how to put them to use.

Adelphi University field hockey head coach Gloria O’Connor saw each attribute Jackie Brown possesses — even the field hockey standout’s recent 6-inch growth spurt.

“Jackie has great size and feel for the game,” O’Connor said. “She is a daughter of a coach, and therefore knows the game of field hockey from a whole different perspective. She competes hard, has passion and desire and is always putting in extra practice time. She demonstrates the ability of taking care of business both on and off the field.”

The feeling of knowing the team wanted her, and the fact that Adelphi felt like a “home away from home,” led Brown to sign a letter of intent this November to play with the Panthers.

As a member of three high school teams, vice president of the Student Organization, co-president of the Varsity Club and a member of the Yearbook Club and National Honor Society, Brown knows what it means to put in the time to improve.

Jackie Brown is surrounded by her family as she signs her letter of intent to play field hockey for Adelphi University. Photo from Port Jefferson school district
Jackie Brown is surrounded by her family as she signs her letter of intent to play field hockey for Adelphi University. Photo from Port Jefferson school district

“It’s a lot to juggle when I go from one practice to the other, and then come home and do homework before going to another practice, but it’s manageable,” she said. “I learned how to be a leader on the field, work with my teammates and develop a strong work ethic.”

As Brown departs for college in 2017, her mother said she too may be hanging up her whistle at Port Jefferson. The head coach will receive a coach of the year award during the Suffolk County awards dinner, while her daughter will receive her second All-State honor and an All-Tournament nod following the No. 2-seeded Royals’ appearance in the Class C county finals.

Gallagher said the recognitions are well deserved, especially for her former coach.

“She’s very humble,” Gallagher said of Deb Brown. “No one can argue about how much she cares and dedicates herself to these girls and to this program. The success not only during these past couple of season but over her whole tenure shows it.”

Despite a hesitancy to talk about her daughter, Brown is even more proud of the success her daughter has had over the years than her own accolades.

“When I have to get the job done I do rely on her heavily to get the job done for Port Jeff,” Brown said. “I kind of downplay what she has accomplished over the years, but she’s worked very hard for this, and she deserves recognition. I’m probably retiring this year, so it’s bittersweet, but it’s great to go out with her after how well she’s done. I’m very proud of her. It’s been a heck of a ride.”

Sundaes holds fundraiser for former Warriors ball player

Friends who attended the fundraiser at Sundaes in Port Jeff Station signed a birthday card for Daniel Colasanto. Photo from Wayne Colasanto

By Desirée Keegan

It may have been raining, but the Comsewogue community was shining with its support for a local.

Sundaes, a self-serve frozen yogurt, ice cream and gelato shop in Port Jefferson Station, held a fundraiser for Daniel Colasanto, a Comsewogue High School graduate who was hit by a car on June 16 and suffered severe head trauma as a result of the accident.

On July 1, which was coincidentally Colasanto’s 19th birthday, between 5 and 8 p.m., the local business donated 20 percent of its sales to the family. The campaign generated $700 in donations, which not only included the funds from sales and a 50/50 raffle, but extra cash that patrons wanted to donate in his honor.

“They say once a Warrior always a Warrior, and it is so true.”

— Daniella Pajonas

“I almost started crying — that’s unreal,” said Sundaes manager Gina Prezitali, who lives in Sound Beach, when she found out how much money was raised. “A couple of the girls here are close with him. We’re a family here; we care about each other, and that was the largest turnout I’ve ever seen, and most money we’ve raised. It was unbelievable the way everyone came together. It gave me chills.”

Warriors young and old flocked to Sundaes to show how much they cared, and after purchasing ice cream, many of them told the cashiers to keep the change.

“It’s crazy — we had a woman come in here and she graduated from Comsewogue in 1976,” Sundaes employee Daniella Pajonas, who is a neighbor of, and graduated with Colasanto, said. “They say once a Warrior, always a Warrior, and it is so true.”

Within the first 15 minutes of the event, the line wrapped around the inside of the building, and never died down after that.

“There’s so many people here,” Pajonas said. “It feels so good. I graduated with all of these kids. I feel so lucky that I grew up here.”

By the first half hour, nearly 100 community members had walked through the doors, most of whom stayed and packed the tables and benches, shared stories, showed support with their #PrayforDan T-shirts, and signed a birthday card.

Daniella Pajonas works the register at Sundaes during the event. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Daniella Pajonas works the register at Sundaes during the event. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“He’s an amazing person,” Samantha Donlon said. She graduated from Comsewogue in June. “He’s funny, he’s sarcastic, he’s very athletic, a fun person to be around and always someone you can count on. Everyone, even people who didn’t know him, are reaching out a helping hand. I think it’s amazing, and I’m proud to be a part of the Comsewogue community.”

The fundraiser comes following a string of support from the area. Chick-fil-A has donated food to the hospital three days a week, where as much as 50 friends at a time pack the 11th floor Ronald McDonald Lounge in Stony Brook University Hospital’s trauma center to show how much they care. Other local eateries have also donated food, and Port Jeff Sports made the T-shirts that close friends and family wear in support of the former Warriors baseball and football standout, who is now on the baseball roster at The College of St. Rose. Besides local companies, family and friends, and even people who didn’t know Colasanto are lending a helping hand in whatever way they can.

“It’s so amazing to see how everyone can come together in this family’s time of need, and it’s amazing to see how many lives Dan touched, and how it’s affected everybody,” said Nicole Blase, Colasanto’s girlfriend of three years. “I love him with all my heart. He helped make me the person I am today; he’s my number one. He’s so genuine, caring, and most of all, funny. He brightens up the room, and he puts a smile on everyone’s face. He’s just an amazing person, and I would give anything for him. Just pray for Dan.”

Julianne Soviero is a Ward Melville High School graduate. Photo from Julianne Soviero

By Joseph Wolkin

Julianne Soviero is focused on developing young softball pitchers throughout Long Island. The 1998 Ward Melville High School grad and 2002 valedictorian at Manhattan College is attempting to make a difference for young athletes, searching for ways to educate them about the recruiting process and keep them savvy of the sharks swimming through the competitive waters.

Julianne Soviero is a Ward Melville High School graduate. Photo from Julianne Soviero
Julianne Soviero is a Ward Melville High School graduate. Photo from Julianne Soviero

In May, Soviero self-published her second book, “Empowered Recruiting: The Student Athlete’s College Selection Guide.” In her latest work, the now Ronkonkoma resident said she attempts to convey multiple messages to student athletes, with chapters about knowing one’s options, eligibility, signing and more.

“I have been working with elite athletes in my business for well over a decade,” Soviero said. “What I was finding that was very challenging is that, by the time they decided they wanted to play competitively, it was like there was way too much information for them to acquire to do that because it’s become too complicated to do that. Usually, to get this kind of information and to sit down with them — the amount of time it would take to do it thoroughly — is astronomically expensive. I wanted to create a way to make all of this information accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

Soviero is president of Flawless Fastpitch, an organization dedicated to instructing how to pitch in softball, along with learning the anatomy and physiology of properly delivering the ball. Guiding numerous athletes to successful Division I and II collegiate careers, she said she wants to continue expanding her influence with the book.

“I don’t get any joy in telling people that consult with me that if they want to play in Division I, they have to start super young,” Soviero said. “But it’s just the truth. When you’re in seventh or eighth grade, you don’t know what you want to do. Some people don’t even know what they want to do until after they graduate college. At least if you begin the education process at that time, you can say that maybe Division I is too much for me, and you can go to Division II. A lot of people assume that Division III offers athletic scholarships and they do not.”

Growing up, Soviero went to Setauket Elementary School, P.J. Gelinas Jr. High and pitched for four years for the Patriots varsity softball team, graduating from Ward Melville High School in 1998. Her pitching success led her to become the recipient of the 2001 NIT Student/Athlete Award. Come 2010, she became a consultant for LIU Post’s softball team, staying with the team through 2013.

Among those who stand out in Soviero’s eyes include Seaford’s Lindsay Montemarano, who completed her junior year with the Michigan Wolverines, and Brightwaters’ Liz Weber, who attended LIU Post.

Compared to Soviero’s other book, “Unleash Your True Athletic Potential,” she said she hopes student athletes and parents will not only come out with a better knowledge of the recruiting process, but also have a better understanding of what the process of being scouted by colleges is like.

Soviero said she makes occasional appearances on Fox and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, preaching her company’s work along with athletes that have signed with major teams.

“This book [was written] specifically because I was seeing how many athletes are struggling through this very complicated process to be noticed by colleges and things like that,” Soviero said. “It’s become very difficult for them, and it’s become enormously expensive.”

Her book is available on Amazon.com.

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After back-to-back Suffolk County titles, Mustangs fall to Clarke, 7-1, to end season

The Mount Sinai softball team fell to Clarke, 7-1, in the Long Island championship on June 3 at Hofstra University. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

One year ago, the Mount Sinai softball team reached a new milestone, achieving a level of success the likes of which the Mustangs had never seen.

“This is the best softball team Mount Sinai has ever had,” head coach Tom Tilton said. “They won the conference, they won the league and they won the county championship — something that has never been done before.”

Sabrina Burrus reaches out to grab the ball behind the plate. Photo by Bill Landon
Sabrina Burrus reaches out to grab the ball behind the plate. Photo by Bill Landon

Looking to repeat last year’s success, the Mount Sinai softball team went undefeated in its conference for a second year in a row, finishing atop League VI with a 12-0 record, which earned the team the top seed in the Class A bracket.

After a first-round bye, the Mustangs picked off No. 4 Hampton Bays and took down No. 3 Islip, the only team that had beaten them in a nonleague contest earlier in the season, sending them to the loser bracket, only to play the Buccaneers again in the semifinal round. In back-to-back games, Mount Sinai beat Islip for the school’s second consecutive county title.

A year ago, it had never been done before. And this season, they did it again.

Mount Sinai’s roadblock last year was the Long Island championship, and this year it would be no different. The Mustangs faced Clarke at Hofstra University Friday afternoon, and fell 7-1 to end a remarkable season.

Mount Sinai fell behind 2-0 after one inning of play, and the Mustangs struggled to find a rhythm, making a pitching change in just the bottom of the second inning. Eighth-grader Kelsey Carr took over on the mound after Clarke loaded the bases, with the Mustangs trailing by three runs. It was an error-riddled inning, and Clarke capitalized on each mistake, scoring four unearned runs to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Hailey La Giudice throws from third. Photo by Bill Landon
Hailey La Giudice throws from third. Photo by Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai bats were quiet over the next two innings, but would get the goose egg off the scoreboard in the top of the fifth.

With runners at first and second, senior third baseman and catcher Sabrina Burrus smacked a sacrifice fly to advance the runner at second to third. Sophomore catcher and third baseman Hailey La Giudice stepped into the batter’s box and battled the pitcher as the count grew full, and ripped the ball through the gap to right field, plating Carr.

With runners on first and second, sophomore Emma Wimmer drew a walk to load the bases, but the opportunity was squandered as the Mustangs went down swinging to end the inning. From there, the Mustangs bats went silent. The team was unable to mount another rally from there.

“We prepared to hit the faster pitching because we know what she brings,” Tilton said of Clarke’s pitcher. “There’s no two ways about it, but I didn’t anticipate making six errors in the first two innings. Today we were very nervous and we haven’t shown that all year. Today that killed us. You can’t give up five unearned runs to a pitcher like that and expect to win.”

Losing only two seniors to graduation, Tilton said he is optimistic about next season.

“We’re a very young team,” he said. “We’ll be back next year.”

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Junior catcher Kaitlyn Loffman tries to catch the low ball behind the plate. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Smithtown West protected a one-run lead until the sixth inning, when Brentwood scored three runs on a single play to take the lead, and scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh to notch the 4-1 nonleague softball win Monday afternoon.

Junior first baseman Kiley Magee reaches for the out. Photo by Bill Landon
Junior first baseman Kiley Magee reaches for the out. Photo by Bill Landon

The bats cracked on both sides, but each team left several runners on base, leaving the game scoreless through three and a half innings.

Brentwood threatened with runners on the corners with one out in the top of the fourth, and tried to steal second base, but Smithtown West junior catcher Kaitlyn Loffman fired a shot to eighth-grader Sarah Chapman, who cleanly tagged the runner for the second out of the inning.

“They’re in League I, but I thought we could’ve done more to help out the defense,” Loffman said. “On offense, we just have to pick better pitches to swing at.”

Brentwood stranded the lone runner and the Bulls went to work in the bottom of the fourth.

Smithtown West junior first baseman Kiley Magee’s bat cracked next as she found the gap for a lead-off single. Loffman, equally as dangerous in the batters’ box, ripped one deep down the left sideline that went to the fence, plating Magee as Loffman made it to third standing up. Unable to bring Loffman home, Smithtown West had to settle for a 1-0 lead to open the fifth inning.

Freshman utility player Gabrianna Lorefice fires the ball to first base. Photo by Bill Landon
Freshman utility player Gabrianna Lorefice fires the ball to first base. Photo by Bill Landon

“They’re pretty good, but I thought we could’ve played better,” Magee said. “We’ll work on playing better defense.”

Neither team could find the plate in the fifth, but the tables turned in the sixth inning as Brentwood’s first at batter drew a walk. The next, the go-ahead run, was hit by a pitch and took first base with two outs. The Indians followed with a base-clearing, stand-up double on an error for a 3-1 advantage.

With their backs against the wall, the Bulls threatened in the bottom of the inning when Loffman smacked a lead-off single, and was followed by junior pitcher Maria Caviris, who drove one into shallow left field for a base hit that represented the tying run at first. Smithtown squandered the opportunity though, leaving both runners on base to end the inning.

“We haven’t played them for a long time, but I know some of the players, so I had an idea [of how well they can hit],” Caviris said, adding that she thought she could’ve pitched better.

Although Smithtown was finished scoring, Brentwood was not, and an insurance run in the top of the seventh sealed the team’s fate.

Junior pitcher Maria Caviris fields the infield pop-up. Photo by Bill Landon
Junior pitcher Maria Caviris fields the infield pop-up. Photo by Bill Landon

“Years ago we faced them when we were one school, and played them regularly in League I,” Smithtown West head coach Dave Miller said. “This years’ schedule calls for mandatory nonleague games and that’s this game against them. We made way too many base-running mistakes in this game, missed signs and you can’t help the base hits on the other team,” he said. “Maria [Caviris] pitched well, but when you can’t pitch your way out of a two-out, nobody on, and walk, hit a batter, [and give up a] double — that hurt us.”

Smithtown West dropped to 2-6 League III and 5-6 overall, with nine games to play. The Bulls travel to take on Central Islip next, on April 27 at 11 a.m., and host West Babylon on April 28 at 11 a.m., in nonleague games.

Shoreham catcher Melissa Marchese tags out Comsewogue's Patricia Kelly. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue may have led Shoreham-Wading River 5-0 after the first inning, but the Wildcats came back blow the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning, en route to a 21-9 nonleague win Saturday afternoon.

Shoreham's Joy Papagianopoulos connects for a deep shot. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham’s Joy Papagianopoulos connects for a deep shot. Photo by Bill Landon

The Warriors (4-2 in League V), fresh off their win over Westhampton Beach, didn’t have their ace pitcher Alexa Murray available to start the game, although she came in for relief, and spread pitching duties across three different hurlers.

Comsewogue junior Dominique Bailey drove in two runs, and Murray followed with a three-run homerun to jump out to a 5-0 lead to open the game.

“We trailed 5-0 after that first inning, but we’re a hitting team,” Shoreham senior Shelby Curtin said. “We all have the capability, so I told the girls we all have to hit the ball .It’s what we do — go out there and show them that we can hit the ball just as well as they do.”

Curtin homered over the centerfield fence, driving in freshman Joy Papagianopoulos to close the gap. Comsewogue scored twice more when sophomore Emily Whitman drove in two in the top of the third, to edge ahead 7-2.

Shoreham (2-3 in League VI) answered next when a crack of freshman Melissa Marchese’s bat drove the ball over the fence for a solo shot to help her team trail by four. Next, it was sophomore Katherine Opiela’s turn, and she ripped a shot deep to right field, plating Curtin and junior Lindsey McKenna to cut the Warriors’ lead to 7-5. Sophomore Victoria Coman kept the rally alive as she belted one through the infield, scoring Opiela, to make it a one-run game before the inning was over.

Right-hander Alexa Murray hurls a pitch from the mound in relief for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon
Right-hander Alexa Murray hurls a pitch from the mound in relief for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon

The Wildcats, with a stout defensive effort, retired the Warriors in order to begin the bottom of the fourth. The Wildcats had a marathon inning, lighting up the scoreboard with 11 runs, led by Marchese, who had three RBIs, followed by Curtin and sophomore Olivia Baudo, who had two RBIs apiece.

“They’re very good defensively — every time we hit the ball they caught it,” Comsewogue’s Murray said. “We’ll have to forget this game and get ready for John Glenn.”

Coman and Opiela also helped plate runners, as the Comsewogue pitcher walked in two runs with the bases loaded.

“It’s a long season with 20 games, so sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war, and that war is the county championship,” Comsewogue head coach Jason Surdi said. “We were unwilling to use our No. 1 pitcher today because today’s game doesn’t count towards the playoffs, so we had to throw a couple of girls out there who typically don’t pitch.”

The Warriors trailed 17-7 to open the fifth inning, and pecked away at the deficit when Whitman’s bat cracked again, driving in junior Lauren Ehrhard and sophomore Julia Keller to make it an eight-run game.

“They can hit the ball, and they did that today,” Whitman said of Shoreham. “We’ll have to let this go.”

Shoreham’s Coman answered next with a RBI-single, bringing home Opiela, and was followed by Papagianopoulos, who took a pitch on a full count to draw the walk with the bases loaded, forcing in a run. Marchese had a busy day at the plate, and remained consistent when she jumped on a pitch for a deep shot to right field, plating Coman and freshman Kaitlyn McGiuney to break out to a 21-9 advantage.

Shoreham first baseman Shelby Curtin catches the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham first baseman Shelby Curtin catches the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River head coach John King liked what he saw, and was especially pleased with his team’s performance at the plate.

“The girls did a nice job of hitting — we’re a very good hitting team,” King said. “They rested their starting pitcher, as we did, and sometimes the other teams are just on your pitcher, so we had to bring in our regular starting pitcher [Coman], and she did a nice job.”

Marchese triggered the mercy rule, so leading by 12 runs after five innings, her Wildcats were awarded the win.

“We played really well today, we kept it together, and it was a great team effort,” Marchese said. “We made a few errors, but we picked each other up. We can’t look at anyone’s record, we just have to come out and play as hard as we can.”

The Wildcats host Westhampton Beach on Monday at 4 p.m., and Bayport-Blue Point on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., before hitting the road on Thursday to take on Miller Place. Comsewogue faces Elwood-John Glenn at home on Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m., before traveling to Rocky Point for a 4 p.m. game on Wednesday.

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Frank Catalanotto and former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro during the charity softball game. Photo from Barbara Catalanotto

By Clayton Collier

Radio personalities and local sports greats alike went head-to-head in the first-ever Frank Catalanotto Foundation vs. Boomer and Carton All-Stars Celebrity Softball Game held at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, Sunday.

The event, put together by 14-year MLB veteran and Smithtown native Frank Catalanotto, was organized to raise awareness for vascular birthmarks, with all proceeds from the event benefiting the Frank Catalanotto Foundation, which supports the Vascular Birthmark Foundation.

In addition to Catalanotto, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine, former NBA All-Star Wally Szczerbiak, former NFL MVP and current radio personality Boomer Esiason, co-host of WFAN’s Boomer and Carton, Craig Carton, 1969 New York Met and Long Island Ducks manager Bud Harrelson, former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro and former Yankees utilityman Jim Leyritz were just some of the All-Stars who took the field for the game.

Catalanotto said he was grateful to all of the fans as well as the celebrities, television and radio personalities and local sports greats that came out to help raise awareness.

“That’s what it’s all about, it’s about the support for the foundation,” Catalanotto said. “To see these people come out, it shows that they care. I know they’re here to see a softball game, but they’re also here helping out a good cause.”

“I’m very happy and very appreciative of the players who came out,” he said. “Some of these guys had to get on planes or cross bridges to get here, so I really do appreciate that.”

The Frank Catalanotto All-Stars bested the Boomer and Carton All-Stars in walk-off fashion by a final score of 6-5.

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is seen during a charity softball game. Photo from Barbara Catalanotto
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is seen during a charity softball game. Photo from Barbara Catalanotto

The eight-inning contest was knotted up at 2-2 for much of the game before the FCF All-Stars drove in a pair in the bottom of the seventh. The Boomer and Carton All-Stars, thanks to some timely hitting from Esiason, tacked on a three-spot to make it a 5-4 game. The lead wouldn’t be held for long, though, as the FCF All-Stars rallied again, eventually walking off on a base hit by former Islander Claude Lapointe.

“It was good because we had some late-inning drama, the crowd got into it and we were able to come back for the walk-off win,” Catalanotto said.

DiPietro, who had a triple in the game, loved the atmosphere of the crowd.

“This is crazy man, a lot of Islanders fans, a lot of Islanders chants,” he said. “This is a great way to spend a Sunday morning.”

Carton, who after doing his famous impression of Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman, announced to the crowd that his team was “here to win.” The WFAN morning host hit an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat, and outside of a defensive miscue here or there, had a solid day overall. Carton seemed pleased with his own performance, but satirically pointed the finger at some of his celebrity teammates imploding late.

“Suddenly it’s a one-run game, we’re in the bottom of the last inning and some guys start playing differently,” he said. “I was not among them. I played consistently average all the way through the game. I thought it actually went well. I take it as a moral victory. Frank should win, it’s his event, but we’ll be back next year and win one.”

Carton said he may try to mimic Catalanotto’s lineup — made up of a fair quantity of family members and former NHL players — next time around.

“Next time I’m out here I’ll bring some Canadians and Catalanottos and I’ll try to win one for the good guys,” he said.

Catalanotto said he was pleased to see everyone have a great day for a great cause.

The amount of money raised by the charity softball game is still being calculated, but Catalanotto created his foundation to support the Vascular Birthmark Foundation after the organization helped him find proper treatment for his oldest daughter, Morgan, who was born with a vascular birthmark on her nose.

For more information about the Frank Catalanotto Foundation and vascular birthmarks, or to donate, you can visit www.fcatalanotto.org.

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Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai scored three unanswered runs to lead 3-2 by the fifth inning, but a one-run lead wouldn’t be nearly enough as Clarke exploded in the final two innings under the Friday night lights at St. Joseph’s college, scoring nine more runs to claim the Long Island Championship Class A softball title, 11-4.

“This is the best softball team Mount Sinai has ever had,” Mount Sinai head coach Tom Tilton said. “They won the conference, they won the league and they won the county championship; something that has never been done before.”

The Clarke bats cracked first as the team scored two runs in the opening inning, but the Mustangs answered back in the bottom of the second after senior Emily Solomos drew a walk, and senior Julia Gallo hit a single up the middle to represent the tying run. With two outs, senior Jamie Parente’s bat spoke next with a long shot to left center field for a stand up double to bring home Solomos. With runners on second and third, Clarke miscued and on a wild pitch, Gallo crossed the plate to tie the game, 2-2.

Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente led off in the bottom of the third with a single, and with a healthy lead off the bag, she drew a pick-off attempt from the mound. With an overthrow to first, she advanced to second base, and ran over to third on another passed ball at the plate, but the Mustangs’ first lead of the game would have to wait, as Parente was left stranded.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

In the top of the fifth inning, with one out and runners at the corners, Clarke attempted a squeeze play, but the Mustangs didn’t fall for the stolen-base attempt, and cleanly picked off the runners on their way to second and home, to retire the side.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson smacked a lead-off single to start the bottom of the fifth inning. She put herself into scoring position by stealing second, and with freshman Love Drumgole at the plate with one out, Drumgole ripped one deep down the right sideline to drive in Wilson and edge ahead, 3-2, for the team’s first lead of the game.

Sophomore Angela Bukofsky answered next when she smacked a double to right center field, but Clarke pitched its way out of the inning to stop the rally.

Mount Sinai’s lead was short-lived, and in the top of the sixth, Clarke ripped a two-run home run 220 feet over the center field fence, to retake the lead. After a double, Clarke loaded the bases and plated two more runners by the end of the inning, to jump out to a 6-3 advantage.

Mount Sinai went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and took to the field for the final inning. The Mustangs’ opponent put together a five-run rally to blow the game open, 11-3, and give Mount Sinai a deficit that was difficult to overcome.

The Mustangs managed one final run in their last at-bat, when Bukofsky drove in Drumgole to trail 11-4, but it was too little too late.

“The senior leadership has been fantastic all year long and I’m proud of them,” Tilton said of his team. “They didn’t have their best game tonight, but we were right there with them through five innings. They gave it their best shot and that’s all you can ask for.”