The College of Staten Island opened up the game early, blanked the Hawks the rest of the game, and then secured the win with two late runs, scoring a four-peat at the CUNYAC Champions with an 8-0 win over Hunter College in four and half innings in the 2016 Pepsi/CUNYAC Softball Championship played at the CSI Softball Complex this afternoon. The win clinched the 18th championship for the Dolphins and merits them a berth into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament commencing next week. The Dolphins would finish the season on three game win streak to improve to 25-12 overall.
Game one of the afternoon started off under a cloudy sky and soaked infield as the skies opened up early in the morning and poured which pushed the game back a half hour to 11:00 am start after grounds crews worked vigorously to get the field ready for the game. The Hawks of Hunter College had to get through the Bearcats of Baruch College in order to get their rematch against the Dolphins. The Bearcats would not make it easy for the Hawks as the Bearcats would lead most of the game before a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth lifted Hunter past the Bearcats 6-5. With the win the Hawks got their chance at the Dolphins in the final.
Championship Game: Staten Island 8, Hunter College 0
After squeezing their way into the championship game against the Dolphins the Hawks seemed to have run out of gas as CUNYAC Finals MVP Jacqueline Cautela dazzled the Hawks’ batters and pitched a no-hitter in the championship game. The Dolphins’ pitching was superb through the whole tournament and the field players behind them did an outstanding job as well. CSI didn’t allow a run throughout the entire tournament while scoring 18 of their own.
Cautela earned her second CUNYAC Finals MVP award for the second time in her career and did so by going 2-for-7 over the course of three games while crossing the dish four times, collecting two RBIs and hitting a crucial home run in the first game of the tournament. Cautela backed up her batting performance by throwing two no-hitters while tallying 17 strikeouts. Senior Christina Tufano would go 3-for-7 with two runs and two RBIs while fellow senior Chyanne Gilliam had an outstanding performance in right field. Gilliam finished the tournament 3-for-6 with three runs, two triples and an RBI.
Cautela would take down the Hawks in order to open the game. When it was time for the Dolphins to step to the plate they made the most of their chances against their CUNYAC rivals. Cautela helped her own cause with a leadoff single that bounced right in front of the catcher. Galbo tested the Hawks an laid down a bunt, however her speed was too much and she would reach first safely to give the Dolphins two base runners. Vanessa Joia would lace one through the right side to advance all runners by one to load up the bases for Kristy Colangelo.
Colangelo would hang around the plate and battle and would be walked to first base to bring in a run for the Dolphins. Another run would follow as Gilliam would be hit by a pitch to plate Galbo and give the Dolphins an early 2-0 lead. Nicole Meliak would reach on a fielder’s choice but Joia would be thrown out at home for the second out of the inning. With the bases loaded Ashley Notaro stepped to the plate determined to leave her mark on this game and she did just that. Notaro would crush one to deep left field just shy of a grand slam and would earn a three RBI double to increase the Dolphins lead to 5-0. Nicolette Trapani would follow Notaro’s double with a double of her own which crossed Notaro and gave CSI a big 6-0 lead.
At this point the Hawks have seen enough from Erika Colangelo and decided to pull her from the game and they inserted Danielle Zurek to try and stop the bleeding.
The combination of Cautela’s pitching and outstand field play by her teammate the Hawks couldn’t find a way to get on base and try to close the gap.
Staten Island would make sure that this game would end early after they secured two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to initiate the mercy rule and give them an 8-0 lead. After a leadoff walk by Cautela, Tufano would smash a double to right center to put the Dolphins just one run away from ending the game in five innings. Joia would single to move Tufano over to third where Tufano would score the final run of the game on a wild pitch to give the Dolphins their 8-0 lead.
Hunter came to the plate knowing they had to get on base and score a run to keep their championship hopes alive. That, however, would all come crashing down when Cautela secured the final out of the game with a strikeout to give the Dolphins their fourth straight CUNYAC title.
For the seniors, Tufano and Gilliam it was a nice ending to the CUNYAC career as they both have won the CUNYAC title four years in a row and will now await to see who they will take on in the NCAA Regional Round and where they will be traveling to.