The College of Staten Island women’s softball squad is hoping Mother Nature stays away the next couple of days, as they get set to defend their CUNYAC Championship beginning today in the conference’s four-team double elimination tournament being held at the CSI Softball Complex. The top-seeded Dolphins boast an 11-1 CUNYAC record, and will kick-off the tournament at 12 Noon this afternoon against No. 4 Brooklyn College (6-6). No. 2 Hunter College (9-3) takes on No. 3 Baruch College (8-4) in the other half of the tournament bracket.
CSI took both games against the Bulldogs earlier this season when the teams met for their doubleheader on April 14. The games were heavily contested, however, with CSI grabbing modest 3-0 & 4-1 wins. The wins over Brooklyn started what is now a current six-game win streak by the Dolphins over CUNYAC competition. The Bulldogs earned their way into double-elimination play by virtue of their 7-1 win over No. 5 Lehman College on Wednesday, during the single-elimination round of play.
Poised at another quality postseason run, the Dolphins have attacked the conference from both the dish and the pitcher’s circle, combining great veteran leadership with exceptional first-year performances. At the plate, CSI’s bread and butter has been the top of their order, where the combo of Kristi Dillon, freshman Brittany Smith, and reigning Player of the Year Kaitlyn Flynn have anchored their standing. The trio is combining to hit .419 this season, with 25 extra base hits, 59 RBI and 50 stolen bases.
Combined with the smooth strokes of Stefanie Solari (.354), Danielle Ponsiglione (.291), Victoria Procopio (.288), and Catherine Ebro (.250), the Dolphins lineup is an efficient as any team in the tournament.
The same is true for CSI’s performance in the pitcher’s circle. Two-time CUNYAC Pitcher of the Year Ponsiglione continues to be the stalwart, boasting a CSI-best 8-3 overalll record with a 2.62 ERA. Procopio has won the battle for the squad’s No. 2 pitcher, and the frosh has flourished against the CUNYAC, posting a 3-0 record with 0.35 ERA. Procopio’s first start of her career was against the Bulldogs, and the frosh was an error away from tossing a perfect game in the 3-0 win.
Regardless of wins and losses, CSI will play two games this afternoon. If they defeat the Bulldogs, they will face the winner of Hunter/Baruch at 6pm this evening, with the winner of that game moving directly into the Championship Game, Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Should CSI lose their opener, they would face the losing side between Hunter/Baruch in the tournament’s first elimination game this afternoon at 4pm.
This afternoon’s competition will feature a ceremonial first pitch before game four from Councilman James S. Oddo, whose office lent extraordinary support to CSI’s lighting at the Softball Complex. CSI President Dr. Tomas Morales and Vice-President for Student Affairs Dr. Ramona Brown will commemorate the ceremony as well, alongside CSI Athletic Director Vernon Mummert and CUNYAC Executive Director Zak Ivkovic.
The tournament continues tomorrow beginning at 12 Noon (note new start time) at the CSI Softball Complex. Admission is free of charge.