GAME VIDEO – The College of Staten Island men’s baseball team ran their win streak to seven games and perhaps more importantly, teamed up with partners Drew University to raise funds for the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative on the 14th Annual Grace Hillery Breast Cancer Awareness Night.  The Dolphins used an eighth-inning run to take the win, 3-2, while the crowd in attendance raised a final count of $5,300 on the evening.

Mother to former Dolphin baseball star Anthony Hillery, Grace Hillery lost her battle with breast cancer in 2004.  Fund-raising primarily for the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative started early and never stopped at the ballpark, with money generated through T-shirt sales, raffles, 50/50, concessions, and straight donations.  The money raised this year puts the overall total over the past 14 years at over $73,000.

The evening kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem by Mary Kate Brown and was followed with introductions of several key figures, including Hillery and CSI Director of Athletics Charles Gomes, CSI coaches Mike Mauro and Neil Barbella and members of the SIBCRI. The introductions were followed by the kick-off donation, made by title sponsor One-on-One Rehabilitation Services in the amount of $1,000. Following the initiative, the game’s ceremonial first pitch was offered by Mrs. Regina Sistaro and Mrs. Stephanie Smith.  Both are in remission in their battles with the disease and are active in their communities spreading the word of early detection and proper screening.  

On the field of play, CSI broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth frame.  Bobby Drake scored a one-out walk and after stealing second, was plated by a Jett Nouvertne single.  One inning later, still against Drew starter Jeff Serin, the Dolphins added an unearned run when Anthony DiMarco came in on an infield error after singling and stealing second.  

CSI’s 2-0 lead evaporated, however, in the top of the seventh, when Drew finally got to CSI starter Ryan Kennedy.  A Dan Pfefforkorn double helped score a run and then a Zach Lipshitz single up the pike tied the game, prompting the end for Kennedy.  Terrance Mulligan escaped the inning but the score was even at 2-2.

The Dolphins took the lead for good in the eighth.  DiMarco led off with a walk, and advanced to second on a ground ball.  Frank Muzzio then laced a hard single through the right side, scoring DiMarco for the game winner against Serin.  Down to their final three outs, Drew put a runner at second base with two out, but Jason Failla came on the record the final out for the save, giving Mulligan the win in relief.  Serin rook the loss, tossing eight innings, yielding three runs (two earned) on seven hits while also fanning seven.  Muzzio (2-4) and Nouvertne (2-3) led the Dolphins with two hits apiece.  
Win or lose, however, both teams were excited at the opportunity to take part in a higher calling, the charge to strike out breast cancer, one inning at a time.  Raffle prizes were awarded throughout the evening.

During the middle of seventh inning, Hillery himself addressed the crowd thanking the many in attendance. His words were followed by an inspired version of Amazing Grace.

CSI skipper Michael Mauro was happy with the event.  “I can’t say it enough how thankful I am to everyone for making this event so great.  To give back to Anthony and his family and to see the job that the staff does and to get such a great commitment from our friends at Drew University means a lot to all of us.”

The over $5,000 in money raised in 2017 brings the overall tally to over $73,000 since the event was chartered 14 years ago, and CSI intends to grow the game each year.  The amount raised included a $440 shot offered by Drew’s baseball squad, which turned over its meal money for the game to the effort, commemorated in a fourth-inning ceremony with Drew Head Coach Brian Hirschberg.

CSI is next in action tomorrow, facing off against the College of Mount Saint Vincent in a doubleheader at home at 5:00pm.