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Softball Notebook: Mercy expects big things from new bats

Good things seem to happen to Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School softball players who bring new bats to a game.

That was surely the case with Kate Wilkie in the third inning of last Wednesday’s home game against Port Jefferson.

“The inning before she was talking about how she just got a brand new bat and we’ve been having really good luck with new bats,” coach Rose Horton said. “First time up, people are hitting triples or home runs. So, I told her, those were her only two options with her new bat. She had to get something done.”

Wilkie, who is not known as a home-run hitter, went the homer route. The junior christened her new bat by socking her first career home run, a three-run job over the leftfield fence that sent the Monarchs on the way to an 11-9 win.

“People who have got new bats this year have hit home runs,” teammate Sarah Penny said, “so I think we were waiting for it to happen, but we were all kind of shocked.”

The pitch that Wilkie connected on was a high one.

“It was a perfect level to hit it high enough to go over the fence,” she said. “I had no idea that it was going over.”

The game was played in raw conditions, with rain beginning to fall about halfway through and the temperatures in the mid-40s.

Wilkie’s homer gave Mercy a 9-4 lead. It was part of a four-run inning.

Ever since rallying for four runs in the first, ignited by Izzy Sorgi’s RBI single, Mercy never trailed, although Port Jefferson made things uncomfortable for the Monarchs with a four-run burst of its own in the seventh to narrow the gap between the teams.

A pair of bases-loaded walks by Sorgi and Margaret Terry stretched the Monarchs’ lead to 11-5 in the fifth.

Port Jefferson made pitcher Penny work for the win. In the seventh, the Royals banged out four hits, including an RBI single by Julia Postol and a two-run double by Ashley Catoggio. Gabby Sanchez brought in the final run on a groundout. After Chiara Rabeno walked, the potential tying run walked up to the plate. But Devin Rotunno lined out to first baseman Jordyn Stromski to end it.

Sorgi and Terry had two RBIs each. Caryn Nabrizny (two runs, RBI), Lauren Hanna (run, RBI, stolen base) and Jean (run) had two hits apiece.

Ashley Catoggio knocked in three Port Jefferson runs. Teammate Jackie Brown scored three runs, produced two hits and stole third base twice. Taylor Catoggio had two hits, including a stand-up triple.

Wilkie’s homer was the unquestioned highlight, though.

She said, “When your team greets you at home plate, it’s such a nice feeling.”

*  She’s Mercy’s only senior

The makeup of Mercy’s team goes like this: four juniors, four sophomores, three freshmen and one senior. That senior happens to be Margaret Terry.

As the lone senior, Terry has picked up leadership responsibilities on and off the field.

“Generally, the seniors are looked to as the leaders and I always try to really connect with all the girls,” she said.

Terry has earned plaudits for her leadership.

“I think she goes above and beyond,” said Rose Horton.

If a player is in need of a pick-me-up, Terry is there.

“She’s always there to help you out,” Sarah Penny said. “If you are down, she is always there to encourage you.”

Kate Wilkie called Terry “a great captain. She’s such a good leader. She’s so good on and off the field and we’re lucky to have her.”

Terry, who captains the team along with Izzy Sorgi, plays second base or in the outfield.

“On the field she’s great and up at bat she’s been on fire,” said Horton.

Terry had two RBIs each in an 11-9 defeat of Port Jefferson last Wednesday and a 13-5 triumph over Mattituck on Friday.

She said she is friendly with all her younger teammates and sees good things in their future.

“They’re all really amazing, well-rounded players right now, off and on the field, and I could see this team getting better and better each year,” she said. “Everyone is driven and they’re confident, and that’s what really makes it a great team chemistry.”

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Photo caption: Margaret Terry, Bishop McGann-Mercy’s only senior, has earned praise for her leadership. (Credit: Bob Liepa)