The College of Staten Island women’s softball squad is hoping a regular season softball championship to an NCAA Tournament bid, taking to the field today in the quest for a 15th CUNYAC title.  CSI will serve as the host of the double-elimination tournament which begins today.  CSI will play in the second game of the quadruple-header this afternoon at 2pm, hosting the No. 3 seeded Brooklyn College Bulldogs.  If you can’t make any of today’s CSI action you can catch it live on CSI SportsNet at  Mike Baybusky will carry the call all weekend from behind the plate.

CSI is actually the No. 2 seed in the tournament, having lost a coin flip with Baruch College, whom they share the regular season championship with a record of 11-1 during the regular season.  Baruch will open up the tournament at 12 Noon, taking on No. 4 Hunter College.  The two losing sides today will play at 4pm in the tourney’s first elimination game.  The two winning teams will play in the winner’s bracket game at 6pm.  The tournament will continue on Saturday, beginning at 12 Noon at CSI.

The Dolphins are primed for their playoff run.  The team recently notched their 8th winning season in the last 9 years, boosting their overall record to 21-14 coming into the tourney.  The Dolphins have won the CUNYAC Tournament Championship every other odd year since 2005, and are looking for their 6th NCAA Tournament berth.  The young Dolphins, who boast no seniors and a single junior in Stefanie Solari, have made a tremendous impression so far this season, highlighting both the CUNYAC and the nation with their inspired play.

The calling card for CSI this season has been their exceptional hitting.  CSI is batting .390 as a team, and led the entire nation, spanning all Divisions, in batting for three weeks earlier this season.  They are still among the nation’s elite in that category, and boast nine hitters who are all well above the .300 mark, six of which are batting over .400.  Solari leads the cast with a .473 average, posting 17 extra-base hits including three homers.  Victoria Procopio is closely behind at .456, while freshmen Chyanne Gilliam, Christina Tufano, and Danielle Locke are batting .450, .447, and .400, respectively.  It’s hard to imagine numbers better than that, but exclusively in conference play, the Dolphins are batting a mind-numbing .423 this season.

In the circle, the jury was out on whether the Dolphins could manage the loss of departed senior Danielle Ponsiglione, who practically rewrote the CSI pitching record books.  But the Dolphins duo of Procopio and Brittany Smith has been more than up to the task.  Procopio boasts a 17-8 record, good for the second highest single season win total in team history, with a 4.06 ERA.  Smith has provided a great spell, going 4-5 with a 4.78 ERA, in her first year in the circle.

The Dolphins went 11-1 in conference play, including a 5-1 record against the other tournament teams.  Their lone blemish was a 3-2 loss to Baruch College on April 20.  CSI returned the favor, giving the Bearcats an 8-7 loss later that same day, hence the tie atop the standings.  Seven different tiebreakers were used before the coin flip determined the seeding for the tournament.

To begin play, CSI will take on Brooklyn College.  The Dolphins and Bulldogs met on April 7 at CSI.  The Dolphins took the opener 13-1, and followed up with a 5-0 shutout.  Procopio took both wins in the circle that afternoon.