The College of Staten Island men’s baseball team is riding an impressive seven-game win streak, and will put it on the line tonight when they square off against Drew University at 7pm.  It will be a special night at the CSI Baseball Complex, as the game will simply serve as a backdrop for a deeper cause. The 13th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night is CSI Baseball’s initiative that sees the Dolphins donning pink uniforms and will feature raffles throughout the night targeting a cause that the program has raised over $63,000 worth of support to in its twelve-year history. Last year’s event raised over $8,000 for the cause. This year’s event will honor Staten Island native and restaurant owener Peter Botros, owner of the Stone House Restaurant and breast cancer survivor along with honors who will dedicate the night raising awareness and funds dedicated to breast cancer research.

Originating in 2004, the special evening serves to honor the memory of Grace Hillery, mother to former CSI student-athlete and baseball star Anthony Hillery, who passed away from the disease prior to the 2004 baseball season. Hillery went on to play for the Dolphins through the 2005 campaign and has since graduated CSI with a degree in History and Education. He is currently a teacher and baseball coach at Petrides High School and looks forward to returning to CSI to continue the highlighted event each year.

“It was my grandmother who felt that it would be better if our family could raise money for breast cancer awareness, in lieu of all the flowers we received at my mother’s funeral,” said Hillery. “I felt if I tied that idea into a baseball game dedicated to my mother, it would be a nice way of keeping her memory alive while raising money for a great cause like breast cancer research.”

For many years, portions of the funds raised have gone to the SIBCRI as well. Made up from a collection of CSI academia and students, the organization is charged with developing a epidemiological history of the disease, raising community awareness, and focusing on new and advanced ways of battling the epidemic through biological testing. The grass-roots initiative, which was started on CSI’s Willowbrook campus is specific to Staten Island, and focuses on Staten Island’s environmental impact on breast cancer, and what people in the borough can do to protect themselves.  The organization is led by Professor Donna Gerstle, another featured guest of the evening.

“I’m happy to have this event done each year in my mother’s memory,” Hillery said. “I never expected the event to continue like it has, let alone get bigger each year. I am honored to be just a small part of it at this point.  The staff at CSI has done such a great job with it and the organizations that we donate to through the years use it to positively impact our local community and helps with research efforts designed at finding a cure.  To do this in my mother’s name is such a great honor for me and my family.”

Last year, CSI raised another terrific amount of funds at the CSI Baseball Complex. mostly through concessions, raffle tickets, donations and breast cancer awareness T-shirts. This year, raffle prizes include Major League Baseball memorabilia, gift baskets from local vendors like the Staten Island Furrier, gift certificates to local eateries and fitness organizations, and tickets to sporting events.  Prizes this year include a luxury suite night at Richmond County Ballpark for up to 25 guests, signed David Wright game-worn cleats, and New York Yankees field level tickets to any home game, to name only a few.

A rousing pre-game ceremony will take place before first pitch, explaining the event and honoring special guests. The ceremony will be followed by an official kick off to the fundraising, with a ceremonial check offered by the night’s keynote sponsor, One on One Sports Rehabilitation. During the seventh inning stretch, Anthony Hillery will address the crowd as he does every season.

The game will be broadcast live through the internet via CSI SportsNet at

Admission to the event is free of charge. CSI matches up with Drew University for the sixth-straight year for the game. The Dolphins took a big 11-2 win against the Rangers last year on a very brisk spring evening. Those who cannot attend the game but would still like to make a contribution, can do so by contacting the CSI Athletics Office at (718) 982-3169.