Union, NJ | The College of Staten Island saw their 2019 season come to an end this afternoon on day two of the NCAA Tournament Regionals with a 3-2 loss against the Gulls of Endicott College. The Dolphins finish the year with a record of 18-17 following what could very well be their final appearance in the D3 Softball Championship. The Gulls improved to 33-6 with the victory and moved on to face Kean University in a second consecutive elimination game which got underway shortly after their matchup against CSI.
The Dolphins took their first lead of the tournament’s regional round in the opening frame on an RBI-single by Sierra Kaplanek, but Endicott got even quickly with an Adrianna Favreau solo home run in the next half inning. This was the first of three unanswered runs scored by the Gulls with the next two coming on a second-inning Hayley Arduini solo homer and a Lauren Misiaszek RBI-double in the third. The Dolphins would draw to within one on a sacrifice fly in the seventh, but their season would end there as Kaplanek went down on strikes with two runners on to end game in heartbreaking fashion, a 3-2 defeat.
The Dolphins wasted no time scoring the game’s first run as a one-out Riches single followed by a groundout moved a runner into scoring position with two away for Kaplanek. In her team’s first run-scoring opportunity of the game, Kaplanek lofted an RBI-single just over the glove of the second baseman Favreau, who initially broke in on the ball, to give CSI the early 1-0 lead.
As she did in yesterday’s game against CNU, Dolphins starter Jaclyn Kateridge retired the first two batters to face her in the opening inning, but with two away Favreau connected on the first pitch she saw and launched it over the center field wall to even the score at 1-1. After the Dolphins stranded a pair in the second, the Gulls took the lead on another solo shot, this one off the bat off Arduini, in the bottom half of the inning to make it 2-1.
CSI once again had an opportunity to score in the third after a Riches double to lead things off, but she was advanced to third and ultimately stranded there. After the Dolphins had squandered another chance to score, the Gulls got back into the run column for the third straight inning. Once again, the Endicott bats came alive after two quick outs recorded by Kateridge as back to back hits, a Favreau single and a double by Misiaszek, put the Gulls ahead by two, 3-1.
The score remained 3-1 entering the sixth when the Dolphins opened the frame with back-to-back base hits, a double by Kaplanek into the left-center field gap that one-hopped the wall and a Claudia Porcaro single through the right side. With two on and still nobody out, Christina Cerverizzo sent a shallow fly ball just beyond second base but was denied the RBI-base hit on a run-saving catch by Favreau in shallow center. However, the tough luck for the Dolphins didn’t end here as Alexa Venditti ripped a line drive right into the glove of Hannah Llewellyn at third which resulted in Kaplanek being doubled off to end the threat.
The Gulls similarly failed to capitalize on an opportunity to score in their half of the sixth due in large part to a pair of great throws by Riches to cut down two runs at the plate. After Misiaszek doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch, she attempted to score on a sharply hit ground ball by Peyton Atkins. It was here that Riches prevented the first of two potential Gulls runs from scoring with a strike to the catcher Porcaro who tagged out Misiaszek for the second out. The very next batter, Carly Marchitto, doubled to left center, and this time it was Atkins who was gunned down at the plate on the relay throw from Riches. Porcaro completed the putout with an impressive tag and sent the energized Dolphins into their final turn at-bat trailing 3-1.
With one out in the seventh, a routine infield pop-up off the bat of Julianna Cretella turned into a one-out single that spurred a Dolphins comeback attempt. Following the infield hit by Cretella, Antoinette Galbo singled in what would turn out to be her final at-bat as a Dolphin. Riches then loaded the bases with her third hit of the game, a single up the middle, which spelled the end for Gulls starter Michaela Hamill. Maggie Oram came out of the Endicott bullpen to face Samantha MacPherson who chased home Cretella on a sacrifice fly bringing up Kaplanek with two away and the tying run standing at second. For CSI, this is where their season would end as Kaplanek went down swinging out to end the game, eliminating CSI from the tournament with a 3-2 defeat.
Kateridge did not disappoint in her biggest start of the season, allowing one run in each of the first three innings and shutting out the Gulls the rest of the way. Hamill picked up her tenth win for Endicott, but it was Oram who came on to record the crucial final two outs and earn her fourth save. In a game which saw the Dolphins outhit Endicott 11-7, Riches had three of the eleven CSI hits while Galbo and Kaplanek each had two. For the Gulls, Favreau and Misiaszek each had a pair of hits in the game with Favreau and Arduini accounting for the two Endicott home runs.
With the acceptance of the College of Staten Island into NCAA Division II pending, today’s game could be the Dolphins final appearance in the NCAA tournament for the next three years. The 2019 season concludes with the graduation of three seniors, Alison Meagher, Kristen Meagher, and Galbo, a seventh consecutive CUNYAC title, and a host of young talent having gained a great deal of valuable experience in their first season with the Dolphins.