POSTGAME INTERVIEWS – The College of Staten Island baseball team opened up a sizable lead early, then scored another seven runs in their final three turns at the plate when Baruch College started making noise, to score a 13-5, win over the Bearcats in the CUNYAC/MCU Baseball Postseason Tournament Championship Final played today at the CSI Baseball Complex.  The Dolphins repeated as champions, finishing 26-13 overall, while the Bearcats finalized at 14-18.

The Dolphins came into the tournament final riding the emotional high of a 10-9 come-from-behind winner over Baruch just yesterday, and so the Bearcats needed to score two wins over the Dolphins while CSI, emerging from winner’s bracket play, needed just the lone victory.  They gave the ball to pitcher Ryan Kennedy, who matched wits with Baruch starter Ryan Smith.  Both starters looked good early, tossing two scoreless innings, with Ryan getting out of base running jams in each of the first two innings.

In the third, Baruch drew first blood, touching Kennedy for a lone run thanks to a Luca Altamirano sac fly that chased in John Paul Cattaro who led off with a double in the frame.  The Bearcats didn’t have much time to enjoy the lead, however, as CSI tied things up promptly via a ground ball that chased home Josh Mercado, who also led off with a double.

The game then turned in the fourth.  After the Bearcats went quietly in the top half, CSI roughed up Smith four runs, helped along by two Baruch errors, part of a whopping seven on the day for the visitors.  Glennerster doubled in a pair of runs to make it 3-1, and later, Anthony Dimarco laced an RBI double to make it 4-1.  Dimarco then came home via an error on a Mercado grounder and at the end of four frames, CSI owned a 5-1 edge.

The Bearcats did not go quietly.  They returned the favor with a three-run fifth. Jasdeep Buttar doubled down the right field line scoring Altamirano, and then Michael McGroarty scored on a CSI error.  Matthew Ballone followed with an RBI single right after to make it 5-4.  Kennedy settled from there, recording two straight outs to avoid further damage with men on base.

Then came the CSI offense again, chipping away.  After a run in the fifth, the Dolphins registered again in the sixth thanks to a Bobby Drake single that chased home Dimarco, and then later a sac fly by Palmeri gave CSI an 8-4 advantage.  Dimarco continued his big afternoon with an RBI single in the fourth to chase in George Kantzian, who earlier doubled in the frame, his 19th of the season, tying the school’s single season record.

Up 9-4, CSI inserted a dagger with a four-run eighth inning, chasing BC reliever Ryan Warner.  The Dolphins inserted many of their seniors in the game, and Greg Manassa proved the highlight, stroking a two-RBI single to rip open the 13-4 advantage.

CSI reliever Peter Bellina got through an uneventful eighth before allowing a lone BC run in the ninth.  With a runner at third and two out Bellina got Ballone to fly out to right field for the game’s final out.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” said CSI head coach Michael Mauro.  “They battled all season, they never give up.  Everyone on the team knows their role and they knew to take things one pitch and one inning at a time.”

The Dolphins out-hit Baruch, 13-12, with Dimarco going 2-3 with two RBI and 2 runs scored and Joe Palmeri doing the same.  Bobby Drake went 3-3 with two runs scored while MVP Glenn Glennerster had three RBI and a run scored in two at-bats, next to his 4-4 performance last night.

For CSI it marked their 17th CUNYAC Championship and their second straight over Baruch College.  The team’s season is over, pending an at-large selection into the NCAA National Championship.  The CUNYAC is hopeful to add a seventh team to the conference in 2017, an addition that carries with it the potential for future champions to earn automatic entry into the National Championship.