Flashback Friday is looking back at the top moments from the 2018-19 athletic year each Friday over the summer at the College of Staten Island. We are down to our final three moments of the 2018-19 athletic year, and this one comes on the tail end. The CSI Softball team reigned supreme on the diamond for an unprecedented seventh time in a row, defeating Hunter College to claim the 2019 CUNYAC Championship.
#3 – CSI Softball claims CUNYAC Championship over Hunter College
Date: May 4, 2019
Who: CSI Softball
Where: College of Staten Island – Staten Island, NY
What Happened: History was made in early-May, as CSI laid claim to another Championship. After powering through the opening day of competition, CSI was pitted against Hunter College for the rights to hoist the trophy, with CSI needing a single win and Hunter needing a two-game sweep on the final day. The Dolphins jumped on Hunter early and never looked back, scoring a 9-6 win over in the CUNYAC Championship, capping a great weekend for the Dolphins. The team ran their CUNYAC postseason win streak to an unbelievable 21-straight games, winning their seventh-consecutive CUNYAC Championship. Jaclyn Kateridge, who went the distance and pitched a total of 13 innings on the weekend earned MVP honors on a weekend where multiple players shined.
Q&A…with Jaclyn Kateridge
Jaclyn, this was your first year with the team but you knew what a competitive program this was. How did it feel to take home the title and be named MVP on top of it all?
I definitely felt a lot of pressure coming into such a successful program. I knew that there was already so much talent on the team, so being able to join them and win a championship was a really special experience. The recognition that I received being named the MVP as a freshmen felt so unreal and I’m just really grateful for how the season turned out.
On the first day of the Tournament, you guys ripped through Lehman College to start off and you got the win as well in the circle. To start off so strong must have given you guys a lot of confidence, right?
Yeah, for sure! I think that starting off with a win kind of sets the tone for the rest of the tournament and it gave us a good starting point to build from.
But of course, in the second game, you guys also got off to a great start, but things took a tough turn when Alison Meagher got hurt. How tough was that to see for your teammate, and tell me about how you had to adjust mentally to come in there and finish the game.
I think watching the whole situation play out was really tough for the team as a whole. I know that it was a really emotional moment for everyone. As soon as I saw that she was injured, I knew that I was going to have to finish the game. Being the team was so upset, I knew it was going to be a difficult game for everyone. I tried to not think about what was going on around us and focus in on finishing the game.
So with Alison injured, you know it’s going to likely be you in the circle the rest of the way. How much pressure were you feeling the day leading up to the big game, which you know was likely going to be against a good-hitting Hunter team again?
Again, it was definitely a lot of pressure coming in to pitch for such a successful team, especially against a good team like Hunter. In such a high pressure situation, I tried to clear my head and just focus on the game pitch by pitch.
Every pitcher’s best friend is a great offense, and the lineup built up a huge lead in the Championship. How great is it as a pitcher when your teammates can put runs on the board early?
It’s really great when your team can come out and create such a big lead, especially in such an important game. It kind of takes the pressure off of all of us a little and allows us some breathing room. So, it’s really great having teammates who can produce so well offensively.
In a game of that magnitude, it was also really important to be sharp early and you were able to keep Hunter off of the scoreboard in the early innings. What was your personal game plan heading into the game? Did you have a set strategy in mind?
I really just tried to take it one pitch at a time. After a long season where we had all suffered injuries, my mentality was really to just get through pitch by pitch and go from there. I pushed myself by trying to make each moment better than the last.
Things got a little hairy at the end. The team gave up a few runs, including four after a tough error. How tough is it to shake off a mistake like that and come back strong?
When errors happen its easy to get mad about it, but I think its best to just acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. We may have missed that one, but we’ll get them next time. I think that you have to forget about mistakes so that you can be successful with the next play.
As tough as that fifth inning was (Hunter cut the lead from 9-0 to 9-6), you were very sharp in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the game, and yet you must have been tired by that point going all of those innings. What was going through your mind those last few outs?
Yeah, it was certainly exhausting for all of us by the end of the game. After having a tough fifth inning, I tried to reset myself and stop them from cutting the lead even further. I just kept thinking about how close we were to winning and it really motivated me.
Fittingly, it was you who assisted on the final out and you earned MVP honors for such a great performance. Especially as a freshman with your career still very much ahead of you, how did it make you feel to know you had such a huge stake in the win?
It just felt good to be a part of it. Being a freshmen and pitching such an important game is definitely unique but it felt good to be able to help my team win a championship.
Jaclyn, obviously this off season will come with some changes. The move to Division II and a new conference awaits. What are some of the things you are looking forward to for yourself and CSI Softball?
As the new season approaches, I am really excited for some of the changes that are happening. I am interested to see how the transfer to DII will be and I am eager to play at this new level of competition. I am really excited for my next three years at CSI and to be able to learn and grow as an athlete. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us this upcoming season.