Staten Island, NY | The College of Staten Island baseball team scored not one, but two incredible, come-from-behind, wins over John Jay College today to secure their fourth-straight CUNYAC Championship and 20th overall in front of a frenzied crowd at the CSI Baseball Complex, home to the annual Championship tournament.
The Dolphins scored a game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the opener and then won in 11 innings, 5-4, in the first game of the afternoon, and then, in a winner-take-all final game, CSI fell behind 6-0 before rallying for eight runs in the game’s bottom of the eighth inning to secure an 8-6 win to lift the championship trophy yet again on their home field.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Head Coach Michael Mauro, whose team won the title for the second time in history in four-straight years. “When you’re down 6-0, we don’t expect to just come back and win. We know we’re never going to give up but you do begin to think to yourself that this is going to be a tough one. But our team gutted it out, and it becomes a lot of fun. The ups and downs, the tough moments…when things like this happen, it makes coaching the team so enjoyable.”
For the Dolphins, it marked the third time in the four-year championship run that they emerged to a championship out of the loser’s bracket of play. CSI defeated Baruch College on Thursday, but then fell to the same John Jay team on Friday to get dropped into the bracket. To win the Final took a win late last night over Finlandia University (19-11), followed by the two miracle finished this afternoon.
GAME ONE – Staten Island 5, John Jay 4 (11)
The Dolphins gave the ball in the opening game this afternoon in the opener to Christian Capellan, who tossed nine complete innings in victory only Thursday. Operating on just a day’s rest, Capellan was fantastic, but the junior fell behind, 1-0 in the top of the third inning, when a two-out Alexis Martinez hit plated Steven Catuogno, who registered a single and stolen base moments before.
In a game where the Dolphins would always have an answer, they started with one in their half of the third inning. There, against JJC starter Sean Napier, Jett Nouvertne scored the equalizer after scoring an infield hit, stealing second, advancing to third via sacrifice and then coming in on a Napier error. Two at-bats later, Frank Muzzio scorched a base hit that would score Anthony DiMarco to give CSI a 2-1 lead after three frames.
JJC got right back in the fourth frame, when C.J. Meyer punched in a two-out double and was plated by a Philip Bellomo single, tying the game. Again against Napier, CSI took the lead in the fifth on yet another Muzzio single, this time scoring Nouvertne, who led off the inning with a single.
The Bloodhounds would not relent, and again tied things up in the sixth. Ryan Osbourne started it off with a double and after being advanced to third, came in on a Brian Garcia sac fly to make it 3-3.
In the seventh frame, with Capellan still working on the hill, JJC grabbed their second lead in the game, this time late, when Jurrel Diaz, who had hit a grand slam yesterday, posted a lined shot over the right field wall to give the Bloodhounds a 4-3 lead.
Napier settled CSI in order in the seventh and the Dolphins went out again quietly in the eighth, making for dramatics in the ninth inning. Down to their final outs, CSI started with a John Pomarico single. He was lifted on the bases for Khalid Zahrieh, who then took second on a Nouvertne sacrifice. Napier then registered another out, bringing up DiMarco. With two away, the junior belted a lazy fly ball into the gap in center field, scoring Zahrieh to knot the game at 4-4, sending CSI’s bench swarmed to meet him at the dish. Napier did wiggle out of the inning, sending the game to extra frames.
In the 10th inning, Derek Jentz took over for Capellan, who retired the Bloodhounds in order. CSI equally went in order, setting the stage for the 11th. Another one-two-three inning for the Bloodhounds, gave the ball back to Napier who was getting set for his 11th inning of work.
Napier induced a quick ground-out, but then senior Joseph Amato stepped up for CSI and delivered a pinch-hit single to start the rally. Scott Fodor came in to run for Amato, and he would steal second right after Christian Rodriguez was put in to replace Napier. Rodriguez then delivered a wild pitch that moved Fodor to third base, and after walking Nouvertne, junior Jordan Wilson ended the game when he sent a long fly ball into left field. Fodor came in and beat a throw that was late to the plate, creating a mob at home plate and giving CSI a walk-off, 5-4, win.
Jentz got the win through two innings of relief, coming in to relieve Capellan, who tossed nine frames, yielding four runs on 10 hits, fanning five. Napier took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in 10.1 innings, walking four and striking out five. DiMarco, Muzzio, Glenn Glennerster, and Nouvertne each tallied two hits for CSI. Muzzio posted two RBI, while Nouvertne scored twice. John Jay had two hits apiece from Catuogno, Martinez and Meyer. The final hit count was even, at 10-10.
GAME TWO – Staten Island 8, John Jay 6
The Dolphins’ win in the opener insured a winner-take-all final game between the same two sides. Short on arms, both teams gave the ball to the pitchers who closed the earlier game, and after a brief 30-minute reprieve, the action got underway.
The Bloodhounds stranded a pair of runners on base in the game’s first inning, but CSI returned the favor when they could not push across a run after loading the bases with two out. Muzzio started the inning with a hit, but after two walks, Rodriguez forced a Nouvertne pop-out to end the threat.
From there, Rodriguez shined for John Jay and the visitors started to build on a seemingly insurmountable lead.
In the third inning, Jurrel Diaz stole home with two outs and two strikes on a William De La Cruz at-bat, and despite arguing from the CSI bench with the home plate umpire, JJC had themselves a 1-0 lead.
CSI squandered base runners in two of the next three innings before the floodgates opened in the top of the sixth inning. Jentz would walk two batters, and combined with a CSI error, the bases were loaded before CSI reliever Thomas Musso would come in to try and get out of the jam. Unfortunately, however, all three base runners would score. The first of the three came on a wild pitch, and the final two would come on a two-RBI double by Diaz to right-center field.
After CSI stranded another runner in the sixth, JJC ripped off two more runs in the seventh, this time on a Meyer two-RBI base hit, scoring Osbourne and Martinez, who were put on base by Musso via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. That gave JJC a commanding 6-0 lead with CSI down to their final nine outs of the game.
Things looked bleak when CSI went down quickly in the seventh. Musso, however, motored in the eighth, setting the stage for a CSI eighth inning that will never be forgotten.
DiMarco was again at the center of the productivity. The third-baseman stroked a double to lead things off and Nicholas Meola legged out an infield single. Muzzio would add his third RBI of the afternoon via a sac fly, plating DiMarco. A JJC infield blunder then allowed Glennerster to reach base, putting runners at the corners. Up stepped Sean Becker, who laced a shot to right field that plated both runs, making it 6-3.
Anthony Lozada joined the parade by zipping a ball up the middle, again putting runners at first and third with the tying run at the plate. That lifted Rodriguez in place of JJC ace Danny Wynne, who came on in relief just yesterday in JJC’s 15-11 win over CSI. Today, however, was not his day, and he promptly yielded a single to John Pomarico, scoring Becker to make it 6-4. Nouvertne then followed, and he blazed a double into deep left field, easily scoring two runs to tie the game, at 6-6. After a fielder’s choice ground-out gave CSI two outs, DiMarco came up again and stroked his second double in the inning, this time scoring Wilson to make it 7-6. That was the end of Wynne, who left a runner on base for Brian Garcia to help clean up.
That didn’t happen.
DiMarco quickly took third on a wild pitch and then yet another JJC error plated DiMarco, giving CSI an 8-6 lead, sending the CSI fan base into hysterics.
The faithful hoped that would be the end of the Bloodhounds, but the resilient JJC squad had other plans. After registering two quick outs, Musso walked and hit the next three batters. Without the benefits of a hit, JJC was in a position to tie or win with just a single stroke of the bat, and after a long exchange against Jeremy Scheetz, Musso would finally induce a fly out to center field, spilling the CSI contingent onto the field to celebrate yet another championship in come-from-behind fashion.
“The one good thing about us is experience,” commented Mauro on the resiliency of his unit. “We’ve been down before and they understand what it takes. You have to persevere, and being down by a couple of runs is not a big deal when you relax and focus on what you need to do. I’m so happy that they have this piece in their life that they will remember forever. I’m really proud of our guys.”
CSI out-hit JJC, 10-6, in the final game. DiMarco added another two hits, finishing 4-9 from the plate with two RBI and three runs scored. The junior was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“I tried to do my part but it’s really about these guys right here,” DiMarco said referencing his teammates. “We always know that we can do whatever it takes to get it done and thankfully we did it again tonight. We just stayed together and kept believing in one another.”
Musso gained the win in relief, while Wynne took the loss. Diaz added two hits for JJC, while Muzzio and Lozada also posted two hits apiece for CSI.
The Dolphins have finished the season with a record of 18-16 overall. The Championship was the 20th in team history, tying them with Women’s Softball for the most-ever at the College. The CSI Softball team enjoyed a 4-1 win over Lehman College in their installment of the Championship earlier in the afternoon.