Facing elimination, the College of Staten Island softball team saw a 4-0 lead evaporate, falling to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by a 5-4 count as part of the Loser’s Bracket Final at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. as part of the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.  The loss dipped the Dolphins to 35-9 overall, and it was their second of the day, ending their highly successful season.  The Engineers improved to 27-13, and will face Williams College tomorrow afternoon in the Regional Final, needing to beat the Ephs twice.

For the second time on the day, the Dolphins were able to score first, and built a 4-0 lead before things went south.  

Patricia Riches introduced the scoring, pushing a two-run homerun over the left-center fence off of RPI starter Jaime Cleasby.  That happened after an Antoinette Galbo double, putting CSI in business.  

CSI starter Jacqueline Cautela got through the second and third frames allowing only a hit, and in the bottom half of the third stanza, CSI struck again.  Galbo again started things off with a single, and she was pushed to third base on a Riches double.  That brought up Vanessa Jioia, who lined a shot into right field that scored both Galbo and Riches to make it 4-0.  Jioia was moved over to third base but was stranded there, what would turn out to be an important run left on base.

Needing to swing momentum, RPI did just that to the tune of three runs in the fourth inning to cut into the deficit.  Christine White started with an infield single, advancing to second on a throwing error.  Samantha Caudle was next, and she drilled a double down the right field line scoring White to make it 4-1.  After recording an out, Cam Caswell then was due up, and she rocked a Cautela pitch over the center field wall to instantly make it 4-3.  After surrendering a walk, CSI was able to get out of the frame, but RPI was officially back in the game.

After CSI went quietly in the fourth, RPI struck again in the fifth.  With two out, Caudle this time went yard, putting one over the wall to tie things up at 4-4.  The game was Caudle’s from there, as she took over in the circle.  She weathered a small storm in the fifth, putting runners at first and second before striking out Jioia to end the threat.

CSi turned things over to Nicolette Trapani in the sixth, and in that inning both pitchers took care of the side.  In the seventh, Trapani was again crisp, retiring the side again before CSI nearly won it in the seventh.

Julianna Cretella scored first base via error and the Cautela walked.  Cretella was erased at third due to a Galbo fielder’s choice, and Riches then walked to load the bags with two outs for Jioia.  The junior would battle, but Caudle got her to pop out harmlessly to first base to stand all three runners and send the game to an extra frame.

RPI again used the momentum.  Caudle walked, and Kollmeier came in to pinch run.  Kolehmainen sacrificed, and then on a walk, Kolehmainen moved to third on a wild pitch.  Caswell was next and she hit a liner into shallow right field, just deep enough to chase Kolehmainen home.  There was a bit of doubt, as the Dolphins thought Kolehmainen left third base early, but to no avail, RPI took the 5-4 lead.

CSI had a final chance, and almost made it count.  Kristy Colangelo singled to start things off and then Ashley Notaro singled via a sacrifice bunt.  Colangelo was out at third on a  Jamie Holmes fielder’s choice.  Caudle then bunkered down and got Christina Ceverizzo to strike out swinging and Cretella to pop up to shortstop to end the threat and the game.

CSI out-hit RPI, 8-7, with Galbo going 3-4 with two runs scored and Riches going 2-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.  Caudle went 2-3 for RPI with two RBI and two runs scored.  She would register the win, pitching four scoreless innings, yielding three hits.  Trapani took the loss in three innings of relief, allowing a lone hit.

The Dolphins season is over but it was a highly successful one, as the team finished with a program-best 35 wins, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year, becoming the CUNYAC’s first team to post five straight Championships in early May.