Staten Island, NY  |  The College of Staten Island was able to fend off a furious comeback attempt by the Hunter College Hawks to win their seventh consecutive CUNYAC Championship by a score of 9-6.  The victory over the Hawks, CSI’s second in less than 24 hours, improved the Dolphins to 18-15 and earned them an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament.  Hunter’s runner-up finish dropped the Hawks to 20-11 following a regular season which saw them finish atop the CUNYAC standings and claim the tournament’s number one seed.


After a first-inning injury scare for Patricia Riches temporarily forced her to leave the game and required a complete realignment of the Dolphins defensive lineup, CSI scored nine unanswered runs, six coming in the third, taking a 9-0 advantage into the bottom of the fourth.  Though the Dolphins registered the game’s first nine runs and had the Hawks down to their final strike behind 9-1 in the fifth, Hunter would score the next six, one coming in the fourth and another five in the fifth, to make it 9-6.  However, tournament MVP Jaclyn Kateridge was able to make the three-run lead stand the rest of the way as she recorded the final six outs allowing nothing more than a single base hit in the CUNYAC title-clinching victory.


Neither team scored in the first but the Dolphins would take the lead in the second on an Erica Olsen RBI-single, one of her two run-scoring hits in the game.  With Kateridge having faced the minimum through the first two, CSI went right back to work at the plate in the third.  Riches returned to the game just in time for her second plate appearance and got things started with a single before a walk of Claudia Porcaro put two on for Samantha MacPherson.  MacPherson delivered a two-RBI double to make it 3-0 and a walk of Alexa Venditti proceeded two more RBI hits, a double by Christina Cerverizzo and another single by Olsen.  CSI now ahead 5-0, an Antoinette Galbo groundout brought home the sixth run and a Riches foul out to deep right scored the seventh.


Leading 7-0, the Dolphins weren’t done yet as they added another two runs in the fourth , the first coming home on a Venditti RBI-double and the second on a groundout to make it 9-0.  It was in the bottom half of the inning that the Hawks finally cracked the run column on a double by Alana Vezza to pull them back to within eight, 9-1, but they would need at least one more come the bottom of the fifth to keep their CUNYAC Championship hopes alive.  Still trailing 9-1 in the fifth, Hunter was down to their final strike with Colleen McCoy at the plate and two on base, CSI stood on the cusp of their seventh consecutive title.  However, the Dolphins celebration would have to wait as McCoy singled just inside the chalk down the left field line to bring home two runs and make it 9-3.


No longer facing the threat of a mercy rule defeat, the Hawks collected two more doubles with a walk in between, the first double chasing home one and the second driving in two more to make it 9-6.  With Hunter having seized the momentum, CSI could not muster a baserunner in the sixth and Hunter came to bat in the sixth still behind by three.   However, the Hawks also failed to score in the sixth and the Dolphins went down 1-2-3 in the seventh sending the game into the final frame.  With Kateridge approaching the 100-pitch mark, she set the Hawks down in order in the seventh earning her the individual honor of tournament MVP and securing the CUNYAC Championship for her team.


In the complete-game victory Kateridge allowed six runs, two earned, on eight base hits.  Nicole Guzzone was the losing pitcher for Hunter and was tagged for six runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings.  The bottom half of the Dolphins order came up huge in this CUNYAC Championship finale as Venditti, Cerverizzo, and Olsen all had two hits.  For the Hawks Brittney Salvador had three hits of her own and drove in three runs while Alana Vezza capped off a strong showing in the tournament with two more hits, two runs scored and an RBI.


The win sends the Dolphins to the NCAA Division III Tournament and they will learn where it is they will be traveling on Monday’s NCAA Division III Softball Selection Show which begins at 1 pm.