DOLPHINS WITHIN ONE WIN OF CUNYAC TITLE AFTER VICTORIES OVER LEHMAN & HUNTER

Staten Island, NY  |  The College of Staten Island moved within one victory of winning their seventh straight CUNYAC Championship as they picked up their 19th consecutive postseason victory vs Lehman, 15-1, and their 20th in a row over Hunter, 9-5.  The pair of wins improves CSI to 17-15 on the season and they will now need only one more tomorrow to secure the CUNYAC Championship.  Hunter and John Jay, who will play in the first game of the day tomorrow, each need to win two games in order to end CSI’s streak of consecutive CUNYAC titles.

GAME ONE:  STATEN ISLAND 15,  LEHMAN 1
The Dolphins jumped out to an early six-run lead in the second inning and never looked back as they cruised to a 15-1 over the Lightning in the second of four contests played in day one of the CUNYAC Softball Championship.  The six-run outburst was one of three consecutive innings in which the Dolphins scored four or more runs with five more coming in the third and four more in the fourth.  Jaclyn Kateridge held the Lightning to only a single run in the circle which came on a Caitlin Vernon solo shot that accounted for all of the Lehman scoring in the 14–run loss.

The Lightning mounted an early threat against CSI starter Kateridge as Cruz opened the game with a line drive single into right field to get things started.  Right behind her, Diamond Villegas drew a walk to move Cruz into scoring position and bring Vernon to the plate with two runners on.  From there, Kateridge seized command of the inning in the circle and retired the next three Lehman batters in order stranding a pair and closing the door on the scoring chance.

The Dolphins failed to score in the first and Kateridge allowed only a one-out walk in the second before CSI jumped out to a six-run lead in their second turn at-bat.  The second inning rally began with a Kateridge single followed by a two-base error which moved her to third.  Claudia Porcaro then walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch leaving two in scoring position for Alison Meagher.  Meagher drove home the first two runs of the game with a liner right back up the middle and this was ultimately all the scoring CSI would need.

With the Dolphins ahead 2-0, Meagher was chased home by a Christina Cerverizzo double to make it 3-0.  A fielding error put Julianna Cretella on and brought home Cerverizzo with the fourth run before an Antoinette Galbo double drove in Cerverizzo shortly thereafter.  A second Lightning error allowed the sixth Dolphins run to score before the inning finally came to a close.

The top of the third provided a highlight for Lehman as Caitlin Vernon connected on a Kateridge pitch and sent it over the left-center field wall for the lone Lightning run.  However, the Dolphins were right back on the board in the third scoring five more in an inning where CSI collected five hits and the Lightning committed another pair of errors.  RBI base-hits by Cerverizzo, Cretella, Riches, and Kaplanek accounted for the Dolphins scoring and put CSI up 11-1.

CSI was right back at it in the fourth with four unearned runs in an inning prolonged by two more Lehman errors.  After a walk and a single opened the frame, back-to-back fly outs had the Lightning one out away from stranding two.  It was at this point that consecutive errors allowed three more runs to come in before Riches doubled in one more to put CSI in front 15-1.  The Lightning failed to do any more damage in the fifth closing out a big Dolphins win which sent them into the CUNYAC Tournament day one winner’s game against Hunter.

Kateridge earned the win for CSI with a five-inning, five-hit outing in the circle while Villegas suffered the loss.  Meagher led CSI with three hits and a pair of RBI’s in the 15 run effort while Riches and Cerverizzo each added two hits and two RBI’s of their own.  For Lehman Stephany Cruz was the only player with multiple hits with Vernon delivering the loudest of the five Lightning knocks, a solo home run.

GAME TWO:  STATEN ISLAND 9,  HUNTER 5
As they did in the early innings of their first matchup of the day against Lehman, CSI got ahead by several runs early against Hunter scoring four in the first.  The Dolphins then added another two runs in both the second and fourth innings to go ahead 8-0 through four.  Down to their final three outs trailing by eight, the Hawks stayed alive with two unearned runs in the fifth and two more in sixth to make it 8-4.  CSI tacked on an insurance run in the seventh before Jaclyn Kateridge limited the Hawks to a run in their final turn at-bat to secure the 9-5 victory.

Hawks starter Caroline Bibula did not make it out of the opening frame and was greeted by an Antoinette Galbo triple to get the day’s final game started.  A Riches groundout that followed accounted for the only out recorded by Bibula as the next five Dolphins reached, three on base hits, one on a walk, and another on a Hawks error.  At this point, RBI singles by Kateridge, and Alexa Venditti had brought home two with another coming in to score on the error.   Ahead 3-0, Cerverizzo hit into a fielder’s choice to extend the lead to 4-0 entering the bottom of the first.

The Dolphins lead did not remain at four runs for long as the Hawks went down in order in the next half inning before CSI tacked on two more in the top half of inning number two.  Galbo, leading off the second after CSI batted around in the first, doubled and was quickly chased home by another double from Riches two pitches later.  After consecutive groundouts left Riches standing on second with two away, Claudia Porcaro came through with the two-out RBI single through the middle to put the Dolphins up 6-0.

The lead remained six until the fourth when Porcaro once again delivered a two-out RBI hit, this time a double that brought home two more extending the Dolphins lead to 8-0.  Now within six outs of a victory, Alison Meagher loaded the bases in the fourth but escaped with the shutout intact.  It wouldn’t be long before Meagher was right back in the circle as the Dolphins went down quickly in the fifth leaving Hunter one final opportunity to prolong the game. 

With the Hawks down to their final three outs in an eight-run game, Hunter did not go down quietly and plated a pair without the benefit of a hit.  Three Dolphins errors in the inning gifted the Hawks two runs before Meagher brought the frame to a close with a strikeout of Leanna Donahue.  CSI was kept off of the scoreboard for the second consecutive inning in the top of the sixth before Hunter was right back in the run column in the bottom half.  A double followed by a groundout put a runner on third, but the passed ball that followed proved costly in more ways than one way.  Not only did it bring home the third Hawks run, but the Dolphins also lost Alison Meagher to injury on a play at the plate with her team ahead 8-3.

A Giana Raimondi single made it 8-4 entering the seventh, and the Dolphins scratched out a run in the top half of the final frame to make it 9-4.  With the Hawks down to their final out, Alana Vezza homered to left-center in the bottom half to bring the Hawks back within four, but this was as close as they would get.   Bibula grounded out to end the game and close out a Dolphins victory that brings them to within a single win of their seventh consecutive CUNYAC Championship.

Meagher earned the win, her ninth and Bibula suffered the loss as the result of a tough first inning in the circle.  Porcaro continued to swing a red-hot bat with four hits and three RBI’s in the game.  For the Hawks, Vezza also had three hits including the longest of the game, a solo home run.

The Hawks are up first tomorrow as they will take on the John Jay College Bloodhounds in an elimination game to open the action on day two of the CUNYAC Softball Championship.  The winner of that matchup will advance to take on the Dolphins needing two victories to win the CUNYAC Championship.  It will take only a single CSI win tomorrow to secure their seventh consecutive CUNYAC title.