Postgame Interviews – The College of Staten Island women’s softball squad saw their run at a national championship come to an end on Saturday, as William Paterson University exacted revenge for a loss to CSI yesterday, with a 9-1 win in the loser’s bracket final of the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament Union Region on the campus of Kean University this afternoon. The Dolphins’ season will finalize at 31-12, while the Pioneers will face host Kean in tomorrow afternoon’s Regional Championship.
Without the services of senior captain and centerfielder Brittany Smith, who was lost to injury in the game against Kean earlier in the day, CSI lacked that fire on the bases that fueled them to a win over WPU almost 24 hours earlier. Meanwhile, WPU came into the game riding the emotional high of a 9-2 win over Farmingdale State, advancing them to the game against CSI. The Dolphins were designated as the home team by virtue of a coin flip, and play commenced. When it did, the Pioneers were able to scratch across a run in the first inning off of CSI starter Jacqueline Cautela.
Nicole Fryer started things off with a single, and after a sacrifice, was moved to third on a single by Meghin Stanton before a Rachel Wasilak RBI-groundout brought her in, making it 1-0. In their turns at the plate, CSI appeared to be hitting the ball hard against WPU starter Gabrielle Castelli, but the Pioneers defense behind her was sterling making all the plays in the field to keep CSI at bay. That was halted, however, when junior Chyanne Gilliam roped a shot to straightaway centerfield, a solo homerun that got the Dolphins tied at 1-1 in the second inning. The game then rolled along until WPU caught fire in the fourth inning with two outs and nobody on base.
Kelsey Wimmershoff started the rally with an infield single, and after stealing second, she advanced to third on a Kaitlyn Poretti single. Poretti then stole a base before Castelli helped her own cause with an RBI single to score Wimmershoff to make it 2-1. Kim Fryer then smoked a two-RBI single from just inside fair territory in between three charging Dolphins defenders, scoring a pair to make it 4-1. CSI Head Coach Stella Proto and CSI’s fielders on the play argued the fair-ball ruling, but the team was overruled and after 3.5 innings, CSI was down 4-1.
WPU then sent in ace pitcher Allison Podmajersky, and the sophomore was spectacular retiring the Dolphins in order the rest of the way, earning the win in relief. In the otherwise close game, WPU blew the doors open with a five-run seventh inning. Against an ailing Cautela, who was working her 12th inning on the afternoon, Wasilak singled in two runs, and Wimmershoff tripled in three runs to cap the scoring. WPU out-hit CSI, 12-2.
Despite the bitter taste the loss left the Dolphins, head coach Stella Porto saw a silver lining. “This was a complete team,” she said of her unit. “There were no egos on this team, and to be able to build from something like this and a team like this is invaluable.”
Sophomore hurler Cautela, who admitted to being more confident the second around at the national tournament echoed her coaches sentiments. “This year we felt more mentally there, knowing we belonged here, and I think we proved that we are just as strong as many of these great teams,” she said. “We could have definitely gotten farther, but we are a unified team and we will be back.”
CSI’s season ends with a 31-12 record, the most amount of wins ever by the Dolphins in a single season.