Flashback Friday is looking back at the top moments from the 2017-18 athletic year each Friday over the summer at the College of Staten Island. We’re coming down the home stretch and at the No. 4 spot is CSI Softball’s unprecedented sixth-straight CUNYAC Championship and trip to the National Championship Tournament. 

#4 – CSI gets through Lehman to capture 6th-straight CUNYAC title
Date:  May 5, 2018
Who:  CSI Softball
Where: CSI Softball Complex – Staten Island, NY
What Happened:  Softball earned their sixth-straight CUNYAC title, 20th all-time, in early-May with a 4-1 win over Lehman.  It concluded a weekend where CSI outscored the CUNYAC 20-1 and swept play against three different CUNYAC schools.  The dominance has resulted in 18-straight CUNYAC Tournament wins.  Patricia Riches took home MVP honors after going 7-for-11 and tallying 3 RBI over the course of the two-day tournament.

13980Q&A…with Patricia Riches

Patricia, another year and another perfect run through the CUNYAC Tournament.  How did it feel to accomplish the task and win MVP on top of it all?  The biggest accomplishment was getting to the championship. A lot of people had doubts that we would’ve been on top, but with all of our hard work and dedication, we came out on top like we knew we would. Winning MVP was just a bonus. It was an amazing feeling to be picked, but I could not have done what I did without the support of my team. 

On the initial day of the Tournament, you guys ripped through Baruch and Hunter, both by 8-0 scores.  Were you surprised by the ease at which you were able to get through those teams? We played both Hunter and Baruch throughout the season so we had an idea of what they were capable of and what we were heading into. Both teams are good, but knowing my girls, we weren’t  going to let anyone stop us from being on top. 

The final against Lehman was actually a really hard-fought win.  You scored the opening run in the game, but Lehman made in just 2-1 in the fifth inning.  How important was it to stay composed against the Lightning in that situation?  The Lightning took us all by surprise. The girls came out hard and gave it all they had until the last inning and they played amazing throughout the whole tournament. When they started coming back, as a team we got together, talked about staying relaxed and to continue playing our game and that’s exactly what we did. We’ve been put in situations like this before and our main focus was to stay relaxed and play our game.

You were able to tally two runs in the fifth inning to open the game up.  With a three-run lead in the last few innings, how confident is the team with a pitcher like Nicolette Trapani down the stretch?  Once we opened up the game, we knew we had it. With Nicolette in the circle, we had no doubts. She was phenomenal the entire season and we knew that she would pull through and do whatever she had to do to shut them down.

For the Tournament you batted close to .700, and your numbers against the CUNYAC have been off the charts.  Does the repetition against those teams during the regular season help you as a hitter?  As a hitter, you need to be able to make things happen, whether it’s sacrificing an at-bat to possibly score a run, or hitting it to the opposite side of the field, you’re main goal is ‘what can I do this at-bat to help my team get on top?’ and that’s one of the main things I think about before every at-bat. It is helpful to play teams multiple times because you are used to the types of players you’ll be up against and also the pitching you’ll be facing. With that type of knowledge, I stay confident in my abilities and try to do whatever I can to put my team on top. Thankfully, I have been able to get games started and open up games for my team and it is a great feeling to be able to do that. 

Some people will see the success and think it came easy, but you guys really struggled during the early part of the season against some great teams.  What did that first week or so teach you as a team?  As a team, we knew how great those teams were that we were going to be playing. Unfortunately, we were unable to practice outside at all so we were at a disadvantage, but going to Arizona was a learning experience for us. When we came back, we knew we had to practice more and work harder and that’s exactly what we did. Nothing comes easy for us. We have worked so hard for everything that we have achieved as a team.
Obviously, playing those teams early in the year helps you later on to become a better team.  What ways do you think the team improved as the season went along?  After coming back from Arizona, we not only had a learning experience on the field, but also one off the field. We grew as a team and learned how to better communicate with each other and work together. As the season went along, we became extremely close and always had each other’s backs, and that’s what you need to win: communication and teamwork. 

Patricia, you’ve only been on the team for two years, but you’ve already seen a lot of changes with personnel and such.  How impressive is it to be able to win six-straight championships and keep that level up as the faces continue to change?  To be able to continue coming out on top is a great feeling. Yes, we have lost a lot of great players since I’ve been on the team, but we’ve also received such great talent from the incoming freshman. It’s amazing to be able to work and gel so well with new people and still come out on top in the end. It shows how great we work with each other and how hard we worked to get to where we are.

CSI will always be looked at among the favorites in softball it seems.  Going into 2018-19, is it a good thing to hold that spot?  It’s always a good thing to hold that spot. We made a name for ourselves and we will continue to make that name grow as the years go on. We have such much talent and have all worked so hard that we deserve it.

Winning the CUNYAC is terrific, but the team really wants to generate more of a buzz regionally and nationally.  What will it take to get that to happen?  What are you looking forward to most this upcoming season?  I’m looking forward to the new faces. We have girls coming in from all over the country and I think they will be a great addition to our team. They are bringing not only great talent, but a lot of heart. We all want to get past regionals and make it to the World Series that has been a goal of ours since I came on this team. If we continue to work harder every single day, I have no doubt that we will get there. 

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ff 2018 - 4 - 1
Riches went 2-4 in the Final and was named MVP

FF 2018 - 4 - 2
Senior Nicolette Trapani went the distance in the win.

FF 2018 -  4 - 3
Jamie Holmes scored a pair of runs in the game