The College of Staten Island women’s softball squad refused to go down without a fight, but in the end, the No. 8 Dolphins fell at the hands of No. 1 Montclair State University in NCAA Division III National Championship Regional play in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. The opening game was won by the Red Hawks, 7-3, propelling the hosts to winner’s bracket play with an overall mark of 42-3, while CSI fell to 24-15, and will await the loser of No. 5 DeSales University vs. No. 4 Kean University in loser’s bracket competition tomorrow at 11:00am at Montclair Softball Stadium.
Both teams were familiar with the other, having met April 25 for a non-conference doubleheader in Staten Island. There, MSU took both contests and were hoping to ride the momentum into Thursday. Originally scheduled for an 11:00am start, the game was moved to 2pm due to the weather conditions, but at first pitch, conditions were ideal at the stadium. MSU gave the ball to pitcher Alex Hill, who rode a terrific regular season into the playoff, striking out nine of the first 12 CSI batters, holding CSI’s normally potent offense at bay.
Meanwhile, the Red Hawks were able to tally early. After CSI hurler Victoria Procopio retired NSU in order in the first, the sophomore surrendered a leadoff walk to Alisha Cumberton in the second inning. Up next was Hill, who helped her own cause, taking a 2-1 pitch deep to left field for a two run homer, staking the Hawks to an early 2-0 lead.
MSU pushed across another run in the third again via the deep ball. With two outs and the bases clear Dana Amato put another passed the fences, giving the home Red Hawks a 3-0 lead after three frames. After a scoreless fourth both ways, CSI was finally able to register on the scoreboard. This time it was Christina Tufano’s turn to do down-town. The freshman turned on a 0-2 pitch from Hill and put one over the fence in left field, her second of the year, to cut the lead to 3-1.
MSU, however, had quite the response to CSI’s score. The Hawks powered to a four-run fifth inning, flexing some offensive muscle in the six-hit inning, sending nine players to the dish. Jamie Paulino started with a RBI-double, and D’Amato did the exact same, plating Paulino to make it 5-1. Cumberton promptly plated D’Amato with a single, and after a Hill single put runners at the corners, Melanie Zeller hit a pinch-hit double to tidy up the scoring at 7-1.
CSI left a runner on base in the sixth but down to their final three outs in the seventh, the Dolphins put a healthy scare into the Hawks. Maxine Jasko started with a single, but was replaced by Tufano, who hit into a fielder’s choice. Danielle Locke followed with another base hit to put runners at first and second. Hill was able to get Samantha Tallerine to fly out, but Alissa Setteducato followed by blasting a two-RBI double to left-center, plating both Tufano and Locke to make it 7-3. The threat ended there, however, as Hill induced a fly out by Chyanne Gilliam to end the threat and the game.
MSU out-hit CSI, 9-5, with Hill going the distance, yielding three runs on five hits, fanning 11 while walking one. Procopio surrendered all seven earned runs on nine hits, striking out and walking one batter.
In order to stave off elimination, CSI will need to be in must-win mode from here on out. The Dolphins will be facing off against either DeSales or Kean tomorrow at 11am. Regardless of win or loss in that game it will be the only contest for the Dolphins on Friday. A win would promote them into further play on Saturday. MSU will play the winner of DeSales/Kean at 3pm tomorrow.