The College of Staten Island men’s baseball served up a win over visiting Drew University, 9-4, as part of the 8th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night at the CSI Baseball Complex. Along with the late inning rally to secure the win, the Dolphins tallied up a grand total of $5,814 in funds to support CSI’s own Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative.

Fund-raising for the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative started early and never stopped at the ballpark, with money generated through T-shirt sales, raffles, 50/50, concessions, and straight donations.

The evening kicked off with introductions of the night’s guest of honor, Anthony Hillery, CSI baseball alum who lost his mother, Grace Hillery, during the 2004 season. Hillery greeted CSI President Dr. Tomas Morales, Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. William Fritz, CSI Athletic Director Vernon Mummert and members of the SIBCRI, led by Executive Director Donna Gerstle. That was followed by the kick-off donation, made by title sponsor One-on-One Rehabilitation Services in the amount of $700, presented by Steven Barth and Stephanie Zambrano. Following the initiative, the game’s ceremonial first pitch was offered by Mrs. Norma Lee, a three-time triathlon winner who has worked with Mauro at One-on-One rehabilitation facilities who was recently diagnosed with the disease. The stirring ceremony was capped by words from Mauro himself.

On the field of play, CSI nursed 4-1 lead going into the top of the seventh inning, before Drew added a pair of runs in the seventh and another single digit in the eighth to tie the game. During the middle of seventh the Dolphins received a strong rallying call, however, in the form of Anthony Hillery himself, who addressed the crowd during the seventh-inning stretch thanking the many in attendance. His words were followed by an inspired version of Amazing Grace sung by Phyllis Eisenberg.

The spirited interlude woke the Dolphins up, as the home squad deposited five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. A Mark Glennerster RBI-single started the rally. A Joe Cassano RBI groundout aided the cause until Joey Falcone blasted a two-RBI double to open the floodgates. Sal Todaro then plated Falcone with an RBI-double to seal the damage. Pitcher Mike Van Pelt earned the win, pitching 1.1 innings of relief at the end, fanning a pair.

“I’m really thankful for all the support this day receives,” said Hillery, who addressed the fans in the middle of the seventh inning. “I want to thank the many people who put all the effort behind this. This is a great event each year, and we do it for a great cause.”

CSI skipper Michael Mauro agreed.

“This was a great night. To get the win was really a lift but to generate funds for the cause and for the reasons we did were even better,” he said. “Nights like this make us look forward to doing it over and over again.”

The over $5,800 in money raised in 2011 brings the overall tally to over $35,000 since the event was chartered eight years ago, and CSI intends to grow the game each year.

The CSI men’s baseball team will now set its sights on the postseason. The team will enter the CUNYAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 1 seeded team in the four-team double-elimination tournament. They will play No. 4 City College of New York Thursday afternoon at 1pm at MCU Ballpark, in Brooklyn, New York.