CSI Dolphins Looking to Improve in 2023 Season

The Dolphins are poised and ready for another season in their first year of playoff eligibility in the East Coast Conference to build off last season.

By Vinny Masocol

The CSI Dolphin Baseball team warming up in the fall, for an exhibition game later that week.

Photo Credit: Vinny Masocol

After a disappointing 11-25 record last season, their second full season in Division II, there are high hopes that the Dolphins can take steps to get back on top.

The head coach, Mike Mauro, had a tricky task going into a new division where it was tougher all around. The talent he had was Division III level and not equipped for Division II.

“Guys can touch 85+ mph in this league,” said Mauro. “Guys had not seen that and weren’t used to the quality of pitching in this league.”

It was a very strange last three seasons for CSI’s baseball team. Their first season in the NCAA Division II’s East Coast Conference was wiped out due to COVID-19; they followed up that season with a 7-17 record and last year’s 11-25 record.

The difference between the Dolphins and the rest of the division last season, which they went 4-16 in conference play, nine and a half games back of the fourth playoff spot seemed daunting, but there is a confidence when speaking to this team and coaches about the upcoming season.

“We are only going to go as far as or pitching takes us,” said Tommy Lano. “Offensively we can hang with anyone in the conference.”

Lano, the bench coach, has a lot to be confident about with players, such as outfielder Domenick Castiglione (.402 avg, 1.201 OPS, .508 SLG) and pitcher John Esposito (5-3, 2,42 ERA, .97 WHIP), returning.

Thomas Marten, returning junior, had a good season as the team’s first baseman. He didn’t start out last season as well as he liked and is looking to start fast this season.

“I started slow last year,” said Marten. “I was chasing pitches out of the zone and very anxious at the plate. I need to replicate my freshman year when things seemed free and easy.”

Pitching is the key, as they had a rough year with a team ERA of 8.23.

Opponents were almost a whole three runs less at 5.32. They hit .323 against the Dolphins, which must change for CSI’s home team to be in any type of contention this season.

Players to look for this season will be pitcher Ryan Kehoe, who had a rough freshman year with a 7.84 ERA and a 1-4 record. His mechanics have looked better, as the coaches have said in fall ball and in practice.

On the offensive side, Nick Cippoletti, the shortstop along with Marten, will look to have big seasons at the plate and in the field. Expect the normal contributions from Castiglione and senior Shendi Ulaj (.383, .986 ops, 3 HR, and 30 RBI, which led the team.)

The one thing that stands out with this team is that they are a close-knit and selfless group—always talking about the team instead of personal statistics or personal rewards. This reflects Coach Mauro and the philosophy he teaches: team and the family is crucial; you win as a team, and you lose as a team.

We will see if this team can make the improvements to be in the playoff chase when they start conference play on March 24, 2023, against Queens College.

But if you were looking for a team that lost confidence after the last few years, there is none of that here.

“We have a good group of guys, and we are a very tight-knit group, and are trying to build a program. That’s what it’s about,” said Marten. “It’s all about improvement and I think we are going to open some eyes this year.”

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