POSTGAME VIDEO – The College of Staten Island softball team left little to doubt this afternoon in the CUNYAC Championship, riding a six hit shutout to claim their fifth CUNYAC title with a 5-0 win over Hunter College, putting the cap on a perfect regular season and postseason conference run that will land them into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament next week.  The Dolphins are 34-7 overall, and defeated a Hunter team that earlier defeated Lehman College to advance into the afternoon Final.  They close the season at 15-16.

Having pitched six shutouts coming into the game, Jacqueline Cautela was in a familiar place with the ball in her hand on the final day, and with the exception of hitting a batter in the second inning, she was perfect through three innings, just enough time for her offense to come through with a run to take the lead in the third.

After stranding a base runner in each of the first two frames, CSI started the third with a Julianna Cretella walk issued by HC starter Leanna Donahue.  Cautela then promptly sacrificed her over to second base.  After an out was registered, Patricia Riches smacked a line drive right up the middle that was partially deflected by Donahue and took a sharp left turn into the outfield, turning into a double and easily scoring Cretella.  Riches was stranded from there but CSI had all the runs it would need, 1-0.

It was then time for the defense to do its job and in the fifth CSI flexed its muscle.  Alana Vezza roped a ball into right-center to lead off with a triple for Hunter and it appeared the tying run was a sure thing.  But Cautela anchored down and got Brittney Salvador to foul out to Jamie Holmes behind the plate.  Then Briana Monaco fisted a ball right at Antoinette Galbo at second base then she caught and then Cautela got pinch-hitter Alisha Dovicsak to pop up harmlessly to Riches at shortstop and just like that, the threat was ended.

That seemed to fuel the Dolphins, and in the bottom of the fifth, Cautela drew a leadoff walk.  After being sacrificed to second Riches was walked, and then Vanessa Jioia singled to load the bases with one out.  That brought up Kristy Colangelo, who hopped right on a Donahue pitch and laced one through the middle into centerfield to score both Cautela and Riches to make it 3-0.  Caroline Bibula came in for HC in relief and after erasing Jioia at third base, Bibula was tagged by a Jamie Holmes single to right field that scored Colangelo to make it 4-0.

CSI added an insurance marker in the sixth, when Cretella came in from third on a wild pitch after a single, sacrifice, and another single by Galbo.

The Hawks tried to rally in the seventh, loading the bases on singles with two out.  Bibula looked to extend the rally and break up the shutout, but Cautela forced a harmless groundout back to the circle to end the game.

The win was CSI’s 15th straight in the CUNYAC Tournament, and insured their 19th Championship overall and their 10th trip to the national stage.  The 34 wins are the most in program history.

To no one’s surprise, Cautela was named Tournament Most Valuable player, going 4-6 at the plate for the tournament (with a double, two triples and four walks) along with the win in the circle.  Cautela went seven in the win, fanning two to improve to 15-3 overall.  The Dolphins scattered 9 hits, one for each spot in the batting order.  Hunter’s Donahue took the loss, going 4.1 innings and responsible for four runs, walking three and fanning one.

The Dolphins will now sit tight and await the NCAA Selection Show call tomorrow afternoon at 1pm, where they will find out their regional draw for the NCAA Tournament.