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Ashley Catoggio

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Port Jefferson's Annabelle Soucy slides slides home. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Siobhan Petracca’s solid pitching and Jackie Brown’s timely hitting propelled Port Jefferson’s softball team to its first win, a 12-0 shutout of Shelter Island April 7.

Port Jefferson’s Siobhan Petracca hurls a pitch from the mound. Photo by Bill Landon

Shelter Island (0-3) struggled early on, allowing unearned runs with passed balls at the plate. After the first inning, the Royals were up 4-0.

Sophomore shortstop Taylor Catoggio’s bat spoke next as she hit the ball into the gap for a standup double that drove home teammate Ji Won Woo to make it a five-run game.

“Today’s win was very important — it brought us all together because the losses can break us down,” Catoggio said. “I had confidence that [Siobhan Petracca] could put the ball over the plate, and confidence in my team that we’d get the first or the easiest out.”

Ashley Catoggio, Taylor’s twin sister, did her job with a sacrifice fly that plated Brown, a senior, and a passed ball scored the runner from third.

“We’re upbeat and happy for this win, it gives us confidence going forward,” Ashley Catoggio said. “We fielded really well today and we didn’t have a lot of errors.”

Following the list of young Royals making their presence known was sophomore Gabriela Sanchez, who smacked a grounder through the gap, bringing home senior Annabelle Soucy for an 8-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

Port Jefferson short stop Taylor Catoggio makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon

Shelter Island mounted its first serious threat in the top of the fourth with runners in scoring position, drawing a walk to load the bases with one out, but Petracca fanned the next two batters to get out of the jam.

“I was nervous, but I was confident I could do it, especially with my team cheering me on,” Petracca said of the bases loaded situation. “It’s been a little bit rough with the games that we’ve played, but this will help us from here on out.”

Brown, who was catching for Petracca, never doubted her pitcher’s poise.

“We have a lot of confidence in each other, “ Brown said. “She puts it over the plate and we strike them out.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Soucy crossed the plate on another passed ball, as did senior Chiara Rabeno, forcing Shelter Island to make a pitching change.

The change didn’t halt Port Jefferson though, as Brown blasted the ball to right field for a home run that put the Royals ahead 11-0.

Port Jefferson head coach Deb Brown, Jackie’s mom, was relieved to record her team’s first win of the early season.

Port Jefferson’s Jackie Brown rounds the bases during her home run. Photo by Bill Landon

“We’ll take the ‘W,’” she said. “We did some positive things today — we only had two errors which is better than our last couple of games — and the girls are getting to know each other. Their confidence is building with each at bat and with each play they make.”

Another passed ball that brought the 12th runner home, and triggered the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning. Petracca finished the game with seven strikeouts, eight walks and one hit.

Jackie Brown finished 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs and four steals.. Taylor Catoggio was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, a run and a stolen base, and her sister Ashley added two RBIs, a run, a steal and two putouts. Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run, a stolen base and two putouts.

Deb Brown said she was pleased with her younger players’ performances, some who are playing softball for the first time.

“We have a new person at third base, Ji Won Woo, she did a great job, and we have someone new at second, Gabby Sanchez, and she’s doing an awesome job,” she said. “This is also a confidence builder for Siobhan, because this is the third time she’s pitched this week. It’s cold, and she did a great job.”

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Ashley and Taylor Catoggio served up key points for Port Jefferson's girls' volleyball team. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

Port Jefferson’s Catoggio twins served up some double trouble for Greenport/Southold Oct. 13.

The two took matters into their own hands, serving up a combined 11 aces to help the Royals to a 3-0 sweep of the Clippers during Dig Pink nights, 25-15, 25-22 and 25-12.

Junior Izzie Love leaps up for a spike. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Junior Izzie Love leaps up for a spike. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“The serves were going my way, and the excitement of the team cheering you on helps,” sophomore middle and outside hitter Taylor Catoggio said. “I was happy. We worked as a team and didn’t just individually play.”

After senior Katie Chorao scored three straight points with her serve to give her team a 16-13 lead in the first set, Greenport called timeout. The Clippers scored two battle-back points, but the Royals tallied the final nine, with Catoggio serving up the last five points to take the set 25-15.
“The girls played really well and that was a tough game,” Port Jefferson head coach Maddy Combs said. “The Catoggio sisters did awesome with their serving — that was our best quality. Our setters did a great job getting good balls up for them to hit, our tipping was great and they covered really well today.”

Taylor Catoggio opened the second set with a block and scored four aces to put the Royals out front 6-1. Greenport/Southold bounced back to tie 13-13, but a bad Clippers serve gave Port Jefferson the ball back. Outside hitter Ashley Catoggio gave her team a 15-13 lead on serves, but Chorao’s out of bounds serve later in the set put the teams in a 20-20 stalemate. The two traded points, with Ashley Catoggio serving the ball first, and her sister closed out the set with the final two service points for a 25-22 win.

“I think the most important thing is for us to talk to each other on the court,” Ashley Catoggio said. “Serving is also really important. If you don’t serve well then you don’t play well. We get a lot of points from that.”

Senior Juliana Napoli sets up the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Senior Juliana Napoli sets up the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Midway through the third set, sophomore center Lia Desmond slammed home four straight points for a 13-4 edge that forced Greenport/Southold to call for timeout to regroup.

“We stayed aggressive and kept the energy and positivity up on the court,” the center said. “We’ve always been playing Greenport in playoffs, so it’s a great feeling to come away with this win.”

Chorao had a short service tare, and as happened all game, Greenport/Southold’s out-of-bounds serves and miscommunication on the court turned the ball back over to Port Jefferson. Ashley Catoggio closed out the game with the final two service points. Chorao finished the game with four digs. Senior libero Juliana Napoli tallied five digs and one ace. Junior middle blocker Izzie Love added three kills and one block.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth,” Combs said of her team, although adding she’d like her Royals to work on getting passes to the setter to run the offense more smoothly. “The first time we played Greenport it was a five-set game, so for them to come away with three shows tremendous, tremendous growth. They’re communicating extremely well on the court, they know where each other is and they’re coming together really well as a unit.”