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Softball

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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.”

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The No.1-seeded Mount Sinai girls’ softball team topped No. 4 Islip, 5-2 Saturday, for the team’s first Suffolk County Class A title in school history.

Senior Cassandra Wilson pitched the first three innings and left with a 4-1 lead after freshman infielder Love Drumgole evened the score at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, followed by sophomore first baseman Angela Bukofsky’s RBI double in the bottom of the third and senior outfielder Emily Solomos two-run double right after.

Eighth-grade pitcher Julia Golino, who went four innings, entered the game with two Islip opponents on base and no outs in the fourth, and escaped the inning thanks to senior Julia Gallo’s leaping catch at second.

Mount Sinai, which is now 21-2, and finished the regular season at an almost perfect 17-1 to claim the League V title, moves on to Long Island championship game Friday at St. Joseph’s College at 3:30 p.m.

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Kings Park pitcher Cassandra Cancemi slides safely into third base in the Kingsmen’s 6-3 loss to Longwood in the first round of the Class AA playoffs on May 18. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Trailing 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, the No. 6-seeded Kings Park softball team rallied to score two runs to close the gap against visiting No. 11 Longwood, but the Kingsmen’s efforts were not enough, as the team fell 6-3 in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs Monday.

Kings Park outfielder Kristen Plant makes contact in the Kingsmen’s 6-3 loss to Longwood in the first round of the Class AA playoffs on May 18. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park outfielder Kristen Plant makes contact in the Kingsmen’s 6-3 loss to Longwood in the first round of the Class AA playoffs on May 18. Photo by Bill Landon

Longwood never trailed, scoring the first run in the opening inning. With a runner in scoring position though, Kings Park sophomore pitcher Cassandra Cancemi fanned the batter to retire the side.

Kings Park tied the game in the bottom of the second when junior first baseman Gianna Cancemi smacked the ball deep to right field for a stand-up double, driving in senior catcher Ariana Ambrosio, but that was all the team could do until late in the game.

Longwood knocked on the door in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs, and if Cancemi felt the pressure on the mound, she didn’t show it as she calmly struck out the batter to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth, senior second baseman Cheyenne Giarraputo scooped the ball out of the dirt to get the force at the bag, and helped the team capitalize on the only double play of the game, when she threw the ball to first at a waiting Cancemi, to retire the side.

Kings Park sophomore Amanda DeLaura took over on the mound to start the sixth inning, and Longwood scored two runs early to jump out to a 3-1 lead, and scored its fourth on a passed ball at home plate.

The Lions looked to put the game away, and crossed the plate two more times to take a 6-1 advantage into the bottom of the seventh.

With their backs against the wall in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, Kings Park junior outfielder Kristen Plant wouldn’t let her team go down quietly, and drove in a run with a shot to right center, to pull within four.

Kings Park first baseman Gianna Cancemi catches an infield fly ball in the Kingsmen’s 6-3 loss to Longwood in the first round of the Class AA playoffs on May 18. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park first baseman Gianna Cancemi catches an infield fly ball in the Kingsmen’s 6-3 loss to Longwood in the first round of the Class AA playoffs on May 18. Photo by Bill Landon

Kings Park junior third baseman Taryn McGinley’s bat spoke next with a long shot that scored Plant, to close the gap 6-3.

“It was tough when we got the two outs in our last at bat, but we were hopeful that we could rally back,” Giarraputo said. “We’ve done it before this season.”

With a final smack of the bat, Kings Park hit one into shallow right field, where a charging outfielder was able to track it down to end the game, and Kings Park’s season.

“We rallied back there late and that’s what we’ve done all season — we’d come back from a deficit and we usually clinched it,” Kings Park head coach Kim McGinley said. “But you can’t have four errors in the field and expect to win the game.”

Kings Park concluded its season with a 12-6 record in League III play, and despite graduating five seniors, will return eight juniors and two sophomores to the roster next season, with the hope of avenging the early postseason loss.

“In the bottom of the seventh I wasn’t worried about winning as much as playing as hard as we could,” Ambrosio said. “We gave it our best, and left it all out on the field today.”

Three Village Central School District is constructing a new building on its administration property. Photo by Phil Corso

A new, $1.6 million, 4,000-square-foot facility for maintenance and operations is rising on the North Country Administration property on Suffolk Avenue in Stony Brook.

Money from the recent bond is being used to fund the building, which will provide relief for the administration building, which now houses ground crew supplies, carpentry facilities and a paint shop in one of its wings. The district’s auto shop is a separate building also located on the premises.

The new building will mean that there will be more space inside the administration center for career and technical classrooms for the Three Village Academy, said Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services. Being able to provide vocational courses will save the district the fees it pays to BOCES, he said.

“We want to make it nicer for the neighborhood,” Carlson said of the construction. “We want to be a good neighbor.”

Though some neighbors might be disappointed to see the baseball fields on the south side of the building sacrificed, Carlson said the administration plans to spruce up the fields on the other side of the building.

Above, Kim Plaspohl fires a pitch from the mound. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Both teams stranded runners on base after several innings, but the Smithtown West softball team left fewer players stranded, to pull out a 4-0 victory over visiting Newfield on a cold, dreary Tuesday afternoon in a League II matchup.

Newfield senior Jennifer Sarcone struck first with a deep shot to left center for a standup double but was stranded at the bottom of the first.

Danielle Balsamo reached for the ball but not in time to make the out. Photo by Bill Landon
Danielle Balsamo reached for the ball but not in time to make the out. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown West sophomore Tara Killeen drove in senior Kassie Furr on a sacrifice fly to give her team a 1-0 lead to start the second inning, and the duo did it again in the top of the third when Killeen smacked a fly ball to right field to drive in Furr to take a two-run advantage.

“I didn’t think we came out with as much energy as we normally do,” Newfield pitcher Tabitha Butler said. “We should’ve got more lift on the ball. All we were doing is driving balls into the ground right at them so we weren’t’ finding the gaps.”

Smithtown West head coach Dave Miller sent in freshman right fielder Madison Mulder to pinch run at first, who stole second base on the very next pitch, but again, the Bulls stranded a runner on base.

Newfield head coach Jessica Palmaccio said her team didn’t execute when the opportunity presented itself.

“They were exactly what we thought they would be,” Palmaccio said. “They’re a good team. We’re a good team, but we didn’t do what we needed to do today. That’s all.”

Smithtown West lit up the scoreboard once more when Furr drilled a hit to rightfield to drive in sophomore Kaitlyn Loffman to edge ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth.

“We came out knowing what to expect and we came out ready to play with good communication,” Smithtown West senior pitcher Kim Plaspohl said. “I felt confident because I knew my team would back me up.”

Furr, who defensively collected two line drives in the dirt to stop both, was there for her pitcher.
“I just knew I needed to support my pitcher and a play like that could mean the game,” she said. “So I knew when it was hit I needed to do whatever I had to do to get to it.”

Kiley Magee makes a catch. Photo by Bill Landon
Kiley Magee makes a catch. Photo by Bill Landon

Newfield’s Butler thought that her movement could’ve been better to help her team not just from the plate but from the mound.

“I didn’t hit all of my spots and that’s where they took advantage of it,” she said. “That’s where they got their hits.”

Killeen, in scoring position, was driven home by Smithtown West sophomore Amber Meystrik’s bat to take a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

“Their energy was more than ours was today,” Sarcone said. “We had opportunities today that we didn’t take advantage of.”

Newfield threatened late, but couldn’t capitalize and fell to Smithtown West to drop to 2-3, while the Bulls improve to 2-1.

“I thought the girls played very, very well,” Miller said. “My pitcher was great. She didn’t walk anybody and our short stop [Furr] played better than I’ve ever seen her play. She’s a four-year varsity player.”

Smithtown West was scheduled to travel to Riverhead on Wednesday while Newfield was slated to host Copiague.

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Ward Melville senior shortstop Brianna Dade tosses the ball during practice Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

With just two seniors on the Ward Melville softball roster, first year head coach Joseph Burger will lean on the under classman to make a significant contribution, as the Patriots field two juniors, four freshman and three eighth graders, to help make some noise in League I this season.

Burger, who coached at McGann-Mercy last season, knows he’s got his work cut out for him as he looks to build a program with a very young squad in a preseason where all of his practices have been indoors.

“We haven’t been outside yet, so we’ve only been able to hit in the net — you don’t get the same kind of grounders that you get outside,” senior shortstop Brianna Dade said. “It’s not the same feel and it’s a lot harder; you’re in a closed area you’ve got the [overhead] lights so it’s totally different.”

Burger said that his team will fundraise in the off-season to travel to Disney for spring training, which will become part of the Patriots preseason preparation.

“We’ve made changes already,” Burger said. “We have new dugouts, new uniforms, new helmets; which is all part of our new direction [we’re headed in]. I coached a travel team for 10 years where I took my team to Disney several years and it’s a way to show the team how this is a year-round program. It adds value and it’s a good way to recruit players.”

Although Burger said softball isn’t as big at Ward Melville as other sports, his girls put in a lot of effort and are ready to win.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t be successful with softball,” Burger said of the sports lower popularity. “These girls work hard, they’re fast, they aim to please, they don’t take anything personal and they listen to direction and act on it.”

Ward Melville senior left fielder Mary Garr winds up to throw the ball across the gym during practice Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior left fielder Mary Garr winds up to throw the ball across the gym during practice Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Dade said that although there are a lot of younger girls on the team, she thinks its small stature and speed will be an advantage as the Patriots play a lot of small ball.

Kristina Maggiacomo, an eighth-grader, will be tested right from the season opener as a starting pitcher and infielder. Despite starting two eighth graders, senior left fielder Mary Garr was optimistic about her teams’ chances of success this season.

“Every team we’ll face this year will be a challenge, but our pitching is definitely better and we try our hardest,” Garr said. “You have to play at 100 percent with every pitch, with every catch and with every throw if you want to win.”

According to Burger, the team’s leaders are Garr, junior first baseman Natalie Rodgers and junior pitcher Lauren Vivenzio, who will also be counted on to anchor a young pitching staff.

Burger said that if his team plays strong defense, and doesn’t hurt itself with errors, the Patriots can expect to win every time they take the field. Rodgers agreed, adding that she sees every girl giving each practice 100 percent.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” she said, although concerned about the lack of outdoor practice. “The ball’s slower on the dirt, but in here [on the gym floor] it really rolls, so it’s faster and it’s hard on the outfielders. You really can’t practice catching fly balls because of the ceiling.”

The young squad will be tested in its home opener on Thursday, when the patriots host Commack at 4:15 p.m.