Friday, August 9, 2013

Superman is Totally Stronger than the Hulk: DC Overpowers Marvel

The annual (not-so-serious) grudgematch between DC Comics and Marvel Comics’ softball teams occurred Thursday evening on North Meadow #2 in Central Park. Both teams came out of the gate with a ferocious offensive attack, but Larry Ganem and DC’s defense finally gained Marvel’s measure in the fourth inning (it may have helped that Marvel started subbing in some of their less potent hitters by the fifth) while DC’s all-in line-up (no man left out, no substitutions) continued to push across runs en route to a dominating 23-9 win for DC.

The only small disagreement came before either team took the field – the captains couldn’t agree on how they wanted to arrange their line-ups for the game, so each team kept their own standard. Marvel played a traditional 11-person line-up, starting their stars and then substituting in other players later in the game. This configuration got the top of the line-up to the plate more often, which concerned Bullet captain Sal Cipriano. DC’s line-up went 15 people deep, with everyone batting and various players rotating in and out of the defense – the top of the order wouldn’t, theoretically, bat as often.

It turned out not to matter.

Marvel started the game with a bang, hammering home four runs in the first, reminding the Bullets of their potency and ensuring DC would take nothing for granted. The Bullets responded with a five-run, lead-taking outburst, including three runs with two outs. Mike Lorah led off the bottom of the first by smoking a triple to right center field, and he then sprinted home on Andrew Arnold’s groundout to short. Kevin Schwoer crushed a solo home run to center to cut Marvel’s lead in half. After Jay Kogan drew a walk, Vince Letterio’s screaming line drive was pulled down by Marvel very tall, and talented, third baseman. Neil Hiremath singled and Christine Napolitano walked to load the bases with two down, and Sal Cipriano punched home one run with a base hit to left. Blake Kobashigawa ended the scoring with a two-run flare single into shallow right, putting DC up 5-4 after one explosive inning.

Then both teams huddled under umbrellas and DC’s handy tarp-across-the-dugout during a ten-minute downpour that delayed the game. The remainder of the evening would be marked by light drizzle and a ten-pound, sopping wet softball that was hard to throw and harder to crush.

After the game resumed, Marvel, undaunted, plated three more runs in the second, retaking the lead. Responding with six runs of their own, DC seized the lead and never trailed again. Joel Press and Andrew (2) Marino singled. Taylor Esposito’s fielder’s choice (removing Andrew 2) and Brittany Holzherr’s walk loaded the bases. Fashionista David Pina, rocking his Flash underoos outside his pants, and Mike each drove him one run with base hits. Andrew drove home two more runs with another single, and Kevin’s double scored another Bullet run. Jay walked to reload the bases and Vince picked up a sacrifice fly to shallow left field – with Andrew alertly tagging and racing home when the left fielder had to slide to make the catch. After Neil walked, CNap bounced into a fielder’s choice to cap the scoring.

Marvel doggedly battled back again, plating two more runs in the third, making it a tight 11-9 game. DC put together a back-breaking rally in the bottom half, and did it all with two outs. Sal lined to third and Blake popped up to first. And then: singles by Larry and Joel, RBI double from Andrew 2, RBI singles from Taylor and Britt, and a bases-loading single from David. Then, despite Marvel’s strong offensive showing in the first three innings, Mike ended most of the game’s drama, depositing a looping drive down the right field line that went for a grand slam homer. Andrew nearly made it back-to-back blasts with a bomb into left center, but Marvel’s left fielder managed to run the drive down for the inning-ender. Still, the seven-run, two-out showing put DC up 18-9 after three innings.

From there, things quieted down. Marvel didn’t score again, despite a few threats. Kevin ran down a long, long fly ball somewhere around 120th St. in the fifth, while Vince showed some impressive range in center and Blake ranged far up the middle to snare a grounder, to help Larry work through four frames of goose eggs.

For DC, in the fourth, Jay smoked a one-out double and later scored on Neil’s line drive single to center. Moved into scoring position by CNap’s second base on balls, Neil scored easily on Sal’s second RBI hit of the afternoon. Joel and Taylor each reached on base hits in the fifth, and then scored on RBI knocks from Britt and David. In the sixth, Kevin singled, took second on a groundout, and scored on Vince’s liner into left.

9-6 (3-5 NYMSL), the DC Bullets have put up successive 20+ run outbursts. Can they keep the offense going against one of the New York Media Softball League’s best hurlers? Find out next Monday, as the Bullets battle WNYC on North Meadow #10. They need a few wins to climb back into the NYMSL playoff picture.

Bullet Box
3B Mike Lorah – 3-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, triple, home run
SS Andrew Arnold – 1-4, R, 3 RBI
LF Kevin Schwoer – 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, double, home run
OF Jay Kogan – 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, double
CF Vince Letterio – 1-3, 2 RBI, sac fly
CF Neil Hiremath – 2-2, 2 R, RBI, BB
SCF Christine Napolitano – 0-1, R, 2 BB
1B Sal Cipriano – 2-3, 2 RBI
3B/SS Blake Kobashigawa – 1-3, 2 RBI
P Larry Ganem – 1-3, R
RF Joel Press – 3-3, 3 R
C Andrew Marino – 2-3, R, RBI, double
C Taylor Esposito – 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI
2B Brittany Holzherr – 2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
C David Pina – 3-3, 3 R, 2 RBI

Bullet of the Game: Mike Lorah

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Matinee Softball: Amazin' Bullets Blow Out SNY

It's not easy to scrape together a softball team for a Sunday nooner, so first of all, a big Bullet thank you to Jake Schwartz, Cid Rivera, Ian Parfrey and Michelle Lang to joining DC this weekend. The comic book makers squared off against SNY, television home of the New York Mets, at noon Sunday on Great Lawn #7 in Central Park. And perhaps it was a boost from DC's ringers (combined 13-20, 10 runs scored, 13 RBI, a double, two triples and a home run) or perhaps SNY rusty bats (their first game of the summer) or the absence of Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, but DC put up one of their most convincing victories in an up-and-down season, walking away with a 23-3 triumph.

DC scored all the runs they'd need in the top of the first. Mike Lorah and Jake Schwartz each grounded singles through the middle, and Cid Rivera followed with an RBI base knock. After Ian Parfrey smoked a two-run double, Captain Sal Cipriano smacked a laser beam directly SNY's top-drawer third baseman and Blake Kobashigawa grounded to third for the second out. However, Brittany Holzherr lined a two-out RBI single to left to score Ian before Nel Yomtov bounced into an inning-ending fielder's choice. Battling Ian on the mount for DC, SNY put runners on base, but failed to push them across. With a runner on first, Ian induced back-to-back routine fielder's choices to third to work through a scoreless first.

Michelle Lang, the Impulsive Kid Flash David Pina and Taylor Esposito went down in order in the second and SNY posted their first run of the afternoon in the bottom half, cutting DC's lead to 4-1 after two frames.

Fortunately for the comic book makers, the top of their line-up wasn't through doing damage. Mike bounced another single into center to start the third. SNY's first baseman made a nice backhand play on Jake's opposite-way grounder and went to second for a force play and the first out, but Cid picked his teammate up with a long home run to dead center field. Ian and Sal singled, before Ian was erased on Blake's unassisted-to-third fielder's choice for the second out. Once again, Britt came through with another two-out RBI, driving a base hit to center to plate Sal. Nel lined out to second to close the three-run barrage. And SNY went down scoreless, giving the Bullets a chance to take real control of the game in the fourth.

Which is exactly what they did. Twelve batters came to the plate, including Michelle twice, as DC scored seven times in the fourth. Michelle and Taylor singled around David's fielder's choice, and Mike's third base hit of the afternoon loaded the bases. Jake and Cid both singled to score three runs, and after Ian's fielder's choice, Sal added an RBI single and then Blake smoked a two-run triple over the center fielder's head. Britt, the two-out devastator, walked on four pitches, and Nel had her back, slicing an RBI hit to left to score Blake. Michelle lined out to right to end the carnage.

SNY tallied a second run in the last of the fourth, DC took a commanding 14-2 lead into the fifth. However, SNY then managed to cut that lead slightly, as the Bullets managed only one baserunner - Mike's two-out single - and SNY pushed across a third run in their half.

SNY, however, didn't score again (fielder's choice and pop-ups continually stalling their offensive efforts), and DC kept tacking on. In the sixth, it was all two-out magic. After Cid grounded to third (with SNY's first baseman making a highlight reel stretch to corral a wide throw - yeah, his foot probably came off the base, but the effort deserved the out) and Ian flew out to center, Sal, Blake, Britt, Nel and Michelle all singled in sequence to score three more runs (credit runs to the first three, RBIs to Britt and Michelle with a run scoring on an overthrow after Michelle's hit).

DC batted around again in the top of the seventh, for six more runs. After Taylor popped up, the Bullets unleashed an extra-base hit assault against SNY's relief pitcher. Mike tripled to center and Jake tripled to right. Cid reached on an infield single, and Ian belted a two-run triple of his own. After Sal walked, Blake flew out to shallow left. With two down, Britt and Nel both drew walks to force home another run, and Michelle capped the rally with a run-scoring base hit.

Ian shut down SNY 1-2-3 in the last of the seventh, getting the final two hitters on sky-high pops to Nel in short left field.

8-6 (3-5 NYMSL), the DC Comics Bullets next game is against the Marvel Comics Avengers in the grudgematch of the summer. However, we're off this week - the Marvel game is next Thursday, August 8, on the Bullets' home field, North Meadow #2.

Bullet Box:
3B Mike Lorah - 5-5, 3 R, triple
LF Jake Schwartz - 3-5, 4 R, 2 RBI, triple
CF Cid Rivera - 4-5, 3 R, 5 RBI, home run
P Ian Parfrey - 3-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, double, triple
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-4, 4 R, RBI, BB
SS Blake Kobashigawa - 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, triple
2B Brittany Holzherr - 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB
SCF Nel Yomtov - 2-4, 2 RBI, BB
RF Michelle Lang - 3-5, 2 RBI
C David Pina - 0-5, R
C Taylor Esposito - 1-4, R

Bullet Player of the Game: Cid Rivera


CF Christine Napolitano: 1-3, R, 2B
RF David Pina: 1-3, R
P Larry Ganem: 3-3, RBI
LF Andrew Arnold: 2-3, 2 R
1B Sal Cipriano: 2-3, R, 2B
3B Blake Kobashigawa: 2-3
SS Brittany Holzherr: 2-3, 2 RBI
RF Tim Church: 1-3, RBI
2B Allison Klein: 1-3
C Taylor Esposito: 0-2

SS Brittany Holzherr: 2-3, 2 RBI

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bullets Win Scorcher over Paris Review

Sure, it was a zillion degrees Thursday evening, but that's not going to stop the DC Bullets. Armed with gallons of fluid, the comic book makers made their way to North Meadow #2 to square off against the literary magazine Paris Review. The Review took an early lead, then DC went on top, only to lose their advantage, regain it, lose it and regain one final time to walk away, tired and quite dehydrated, with a 14-10 win.

Highlighted by a two-run home run to right field, Paris Review struck for four runs in the first, immediately putting the Bullets back on their heels. However, as they've done all summer long, the top of DC's order went to work, digging the team out of the early hole. Christine Napolitano led off with a line single to left, and after Bill McLaughlin flew out to center, Andrew Arnold crushed a long home run to left center. Mike Lorah nearly mirrored Andrew's feat, smashing a long drive to right center, but unable to match Andrew's speed, Mike had to settle for a triple. The Captain, Sal Cipriano, drove Mike home with a groundout to short, cutting the Paris Review's lead to one. Joel Press and Emily Winter picked up two-out hits, but David "Impulse" Pina rolled over a fielder's choice to close out the first.

Paris Review added an insurance run in the second, but it wasn't enough to hold the lead. With one out, Taylor Esposito, CNap and Bill each singled to load the bases. Andrew continued to punish Paris Review pitching, smoking a two-run double and tying the game. For the afternoon, Andrew missed hitting for the cycle by only a triple. Then Mike's seven-mile high sacrifice fly to right center put DC ahead.

Holding Paris Review scoreless in the third, the Bullets pushed their lead to three runs. Again, three one-out singles loaded the bases. This time, Emily, Impulse and Andrew 2 were aboard, and it was Taylor socking a two-run double. DC, however, missed a chance to score even more when CNap popped up on the infield and Bill flew out to center.

Paris Review responded to the three run Bullet lead decisively, tallying three runs of their own and knotting the game at eight runs apiece, but the comic book makers still had the home field advantage. In the last of thee fourth, they used a little two-out magic to retake the lead. After Andrew's single, Mike popped up and Sal grounded into a fielder's choice. Joel, however, picked up his mates with a bomb to deep left. Joel wound up at third, barely, and Sal scored to put DC back on top. Emily drove Joel home, lining a single into left center. Impulse and Andrew 2 also singled to reload the bases, but this time Taylor went down swinging.

Paris Review's centerfielder, who'd clubbed a two-run homer in the first, got into another of Emily's pitches in the top of the fifth, tying the game with another long two-run blast. In the last of the fifth, with time running out on the permit, DC had one more chance to put the game away.

CNap grounded to short, Bill singled and Andrew popped up. With two outs and chances running dry, Mike scalded a single off Paris Review's second baseman and the Captain laced a bullet to left, plating Bill with the go-ahead run. The game continued, on the off chance that we might, however unlikely, be able to squeeze in another frame of softball, but the long delay that followed Joel's booming two-run double - which led to a considerable fair/foul debate (DC's ground rules: base coaches make fair/foul and safe/out calls, so I'll stand behind CNap on this one.) - made the effort moot. Singles from Emily and David scored Joel as well, before Andrew 2 bounced into a game-ending fielder's choice.

7-5 (3-4 NYMSL), the Bullets rematch Institutional Investor next Thursday on North Meadow #2 in NYMSL action.

Bullet Box:
2B/RF Christine Napolitano - 2-4, 2 R
CF Bill McLaughlin - 2-4, 2 R
LF Andrew Arnold - 3-4, R, 4 RBI, double, home run
3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, triple
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-4, 2 R, 2 RBI
SS Joel Press - 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, double, triple
P Emily Winter - 4-4, R, RBI
C/2B/RF David Pina - 3-4, R, RBI
C/2B/RF Andrew Marino - 2-4
C Taylor Esposito - 2-3, R, 2 RBI, double

DC Player of the Game: Andrew Arnold

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bullets Overpower The Nation in (Brief) Slugfest

For Thursday night's softball games on North Meadow #2 against the DC Bullets, The Nation was late and short-handed. Consequently, the game lasted only four and a half innings before the 7pm field permit expired, and two Bullets - former intern/temp Andrew (2) Marino, making his 2013 season debut, and letterer/rookie Taylor Esposito - gamely accepted a temporary trade to the opposition. Even with two of their own in the enemy camp providing scouting reports, DC powered through to an 11-9 win.

Leading off with Andrew and then Taylor, The Nation struck for three early runs in the top of the first inning, but the middle of DC's order put the team on their shoulders and struck back harder to seize the lead. After a Christine Napolitano single and Neil Hiremath's fly out, Vince Letterio, Mike Lorah and Jay Kogan clubbed back-to-back-to-back triples to left field to tie the game. Captain Sal "Ichiro" Cipriano plated Jay for the lead with a wickedly spinning infield single, the first of three infield hits on the day for Sal. After Brittany Holzherr's fielder's choice, Joel Press rapped a double down the line and consecutive base hits from David "Impulse" (replacing his former "Kid Flash" nickname) Pina and CNap padded DC's advantage. Neil popped up, giving him the fairly rare distinction of making two outs in the same inning.

After Joel shut down The Nation in the second, DC tacked on a run in the bottom of the frame. Having allowed three pull-side triples in the first, The Nation shifted their entire outfield (both teams played three-man outfields) far around to the left, looking to close the gaps. After Vince flew out to left, Mike, showing no rust from his recent paternity leave, poked a looping flare down the right field line for an easy home run. Afterwards, Jay flew out, Sal outran a roller down the third base line, and Britt bounced into another's fielder's choice.

The Nation plated two more runs in the third, closing to within two runs. Leading just 7-5, Joel responded by lining a base hit to left and when David slapped a single to center, Joel charged hard around to third base. The center fielder's throw went wide of third and behind the Bullet dugout, allowing Joel to score and David, already advancing to second on the throw, to move up to third on the error. However, living up to his Impulse nickname, David sprinted off third and was nearly halfway home when CNap's line drive raced directly into The Nation third baseman's glove, and David was easily doubled off. With two down, the top of the DC line-up came through again. Neil, still the senior Flash on this team, slapped a hit to center and hustled it into a double. Vince followed with an RBI single and Mike flared a triple down the still nearly vacant right field line (but credit Andrew 2 for getting the ball as quickly as possible and getting it back to the infield to hold Mike at third). Jay bounced to shortstop, but the three-run inning pushed DC's lead to five runs. They'd need them all.

The Nation scored twice in the fourth and brought their biggest basher to the plate with one on and nobody out, and he promptly crushed a long home run over the fence in left field, cutting the comic book makers' lead to just one run. Fortunately, Joel and DC's defense (big nods to Vince, Jay and Neil for covering all that outfield ground, and to Britt for stepping in a shortstop and doing a terrific job) rose to the occasion, stifling The Nation's next few hitters to hold their slight edge.

Bottom four: After Sal and Britt singled, and Joel popped up, David connected for an RBI base hit. CNap added a single, loading the bases, but Neil popped up on the infield and Vince grounded an unassisted fielder's choice to the second baseman to wrap DC's offensive afternoon. With time on the permit dwindling, Joel made short work of The Nation in the top of the fifth, working his first one-two-three frame and securing DC's 11-9 victory.

6-5 (3-4 NYMSL), the Bullets meet the Paris Review next Thursday on North Meadow #2 at 5:30.

Bullet Box:
2B Christine Napolitano - 3-4, R, RBI
RF Neil Hiremath - 1-4, R, double
LF Vince Letterio - 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, triple
3B Mike Lorah - 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 triples, home run
CF Jay Kogan - 1-3, R, RBI, triple
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-3, R, RBI
SS Brittany Holzherr - 1-3, R
P Joel Press - 2-3, 2 R, double
C David Pina - 3-3, 2 RBI

For The Nation:
RF Andrew 2 Marino - 1-4
C Taylor Esposito - 2-4, 2 R

DC Player of the Game: Mike Lorah

Monday, July 1, 2013


SCF Neil Hiremath: 1-3, RBI
SS Bill McLaughlin: 1-3
CF Vince Letterio: 0-2, RBI, SAC
LF Jay Kogan: 1-3, R, RBI, 2B
1B Sal Cipriano: 0-3
P Larry Ganem: 1-3, RBI
2B Emily Winter: 0-3
RF Joel Press: 0-3
3B Blake Kobashigawa: 1-2, RBI
C Allison Dugas-Behan: 2-2, R

C Allison Dugas-Behan: 2-2, R

Monday, June 24, 2013


RF/CF Neil Hiremath: 3-5, 4 R, RBI, BB
1B/RF: Sal Cipriano: 2-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 BB
SS/LF Andrew Arnold: 5-6, 4 R, 6 RBI, 2 2B
LF/1B Kevin Schwoer: 4-5, 4 R, 5 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, BB
RF/SCF Vince Letterio: 5-6, 3 R, 3 RBI
2B/SS: Nel Yomtov: 1-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3B, BB
SCF/2B Christine Napolitano: 4-6, 2 R, 2 RBI
3B Blake Kobashigawa: 3-6, R, 3 RBI
P Larry Ganem: 4-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, BB
C: Brittany Holzherr: 2-6, 3 R

CF/1B Kevin Schwoer: 4-5, 4 R, 5 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, BB