Union, NJ  |  The College of Staten Island softball team traveled to Kean University for their first matchup of the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament this afternoon, a meeting with Christopher Newport University which saw the Captains slug four home runs in a 10-2 win over the Dolphins.  The CNU victory, their 34th against only 7 losses, sets up a matchup against the winner of the day’s first game, Kean University, tomorrow at 12:00.  The Dolphins, now 18-16 following the defeat, will take on the Gulls of Endicott College tomorrow at 2:30 with the loser’s season coming to an end.
The Captains jumped out in front early and never looked back taking a 2-0 first-inning lead on a two-run shot off the bat of Bailey Roberts, the first of four CNU home-runs.  A solo homer by Nancy Carmichael in the second and another by Patty Maye Ohanian in the third made it 4-0 before the game was broken open in the fifth when the Captains added five more, two coming on Ohanian’s second round-tripper of the game.  Trailing 9-0 and down to their final strike, CSI got a bases loaded, two-out, two-RBI single by Patricia Riches which prolonged the game in the top of the fifth, but the Captains closed things out in the sixth with three straight hits to bring the winning run home and secure the 10-2 victory.
After the Dolphins went down 1-2-3 to open the game, Jaclyn Kateridge stepped into the circle for CSI and quickly retired the first two CNU batters to face her in the bottom half of the first.  However, a two-out single was followed by a towering two-run homer by Roberts to give the Captains an early 2-0 lead. 
Already facing a two-run deficit against the one-seeded Captains, the Dolphins mounted a threat of their own in the second when a walk of Alexa Venditti brought Christina Cerverizzo to the plate with two away.  Continuing to swing a hot bat, Cerverizzo scorched a double into the left-center field gap to put the tying runs in scoring position.  When speaking about the character of her team postgame Cerverizzo remarked that “the perception of our team as the underdogs motivates us to fight more and we will keep coming back.”  Unfortunately for CSI, the comeback would fall short in this half inning as Captains starter Emily Weatherholtz struck Erica Olsen out on three pitches to keep CSI off the board.
The Captains continued to demonstrate the power that resulted in the team collecting 60 home runs this season over the next two innings as Carmichael and Ohanian each added a solo shot to make it a 4-0 game.  Kateridge was removed from the game the following inning in favor of Vanessa Porto with whom she has split pitching duties as the result of injuries to Alison Meagher.  Head Coach Stella Porto was very complimentary of her two young arms following the game.  “I’ve been put in a position where I have had to rely on our young pitchers,” Porto said, “and I think they’ve done a great job to get us to this point.”
Come the bottom of the fourth, CSI still was searching for their first baserunner since the Cerverizzo second inning double while the Captains proceeded to break the game open.  A leadoff double and two walks loaded the bases for Grace Wild who delivered a two-RBI single that ultimately brought home three as the result of a CSI throwing error.  Moments later, Wild would come around to score on Ohanian’s second homer of the game, a two-run blast, to make it 9-0.
Down to their final three outs, CSI refused to go down quietly in the top of the fifth.  Venditti drew her second walk of the game before another walk of Julianna Cretella and an Antoinette Galbo single loaded the bases for Riches.  After a lengthy battle with new Captains pitcher Trish Web, Riches drove a 3-2 pitch right back up the middle to score two and bring the Dolphins back to within seven, 9-2.  Much like Cerverizzo, Riches was praised the resilience of her team in her postgame comments saying, “A big part of our game is the ability to keep coming back and refusing to stay down.”  Looking for more with two runners on, Sierra Kaplanek connected on a 3-1 offering from Webb but lined it right into the outstretched glove of Roberts at third base to cut the CSI rally short.
The 9-2 score would stand until the bottom of the sixth when a leadoff bunt single by Wild quickly put the winning run, which would invoke the eight-run mercy rule, on base for the Captains.  A double moved the winning run up to third before another base hit chased Wild home to end the game with a final score of 10-2.
Kateridge, who pitched only the first three innings, suffered the loss for the Dolphins allowing four runs.  Weatherholtz was the winning pitcher for the Captains throwing four shutout innings before being relieved by Webb in the fifth.  A pair of home runs by Ohanian and one each by Roberts and Carmichael accounted for the four CNU long balls and six of their ten runs scored in the game.  For CSI Riches, Galbo, and Cerverizzo accounted for the three CSI hits with both runs coming on the fifth inning Riches single.

With a potentially season-ending matchup looming against Endicott, Head Coach Porto was pleased with how her team finished against CNU saying, “We have a very young team….,but come the late innings we were really able to show what we can do.”