Friday, May 27, 2011

Kogan's Two-Out Hitting Leads Bullets Past Paris Review

Will an early season matchup against the Paris Review set the tone for the DC Bullets' coming summer? Two years ago, porous defense and inconsistent hitting led to an embarrassing and lopsided loss during a shaky season. Last year, the offense carried the day, as it did for most of the 2010 summer. Yesterday, strong defense and just enough offense propelled the Bullets to a 7-3 victory.

Infield defense was the order of the day. Both teams' infields held the line, preventing extended rallies and consistently turning routine balls into outs. And some not-so-routine plays, as shortstop Nel Yomtov's two over-the-shoulder catches in shallow left field will attest. Although the Bullet offense never seemed to click - in part due to the Paris Review pitchers' ability to keep the ball inside, limiting the comic book makers to jam shots and handle hits, and owing to a few of our own baserunning blunders - DC's bats came through when they needed to.

The Paris Review loaded the bases with only one out in the first inning, but Joel Press rose to the occasion, getting a sacrifice fly and a routine grounder to third to end the inning while allowing only a single run. Not until the eighth (the game went quickly and an extra inning was agreed upon by both teams) would the Review score again. In the last of the first, DC took the lead and never gave it back. Travis Hastback's single got things started, but he was quickly erased when The Paris Review's second baseman made a nice play on Nel Yomtov's sharp grounder and flipped to second for the force. Mike Lorah got jammed on an inside pitch, but fisted the ball over the Review's first baseman where it landed on the right field foul line. Nel moved over to third, and Mike stopped at second with a double. Joel Press lined out to the second baseman, but Jay Kogan came through with a big two-out hit, lining a triple into the left field corner. CNap followed with a base hit, scoring Jay for a 3-1 lead.

After ground outs by Sal Cipriano and Laura Demoreuille in the second, Vince Letterio, Allison Dugas and Travis singled. On Travis's hit, Vince initially stopped at third; however, when the throw came in to the plate, and the Review catcher was out of position (relaxing near the backstop, fairly oblivious), Vince tried for home. The catcher recovered, and flipped to the pitcher who'd come to cover, and Vince was out.

Nel and Mike both singled in the third, line shots to center. Joel followed with a fly ball to shallow left field, and Nel decided to try to catch the leftfielder napping. He wasn't, and Nel was out at third by a good margin. Fortunately, Jay came through with another two-out hit, doubling to left to score Mike. Jay took third on the throw to the plate, and then trotted home when the throw back to third went into left field. DC led 5-1 after three innings.

Pat beat out an infield roller to lead off the bottom of the fourth, and moved to second on an overthrow. Sal lined out hard to left, and Pat, thinking perhaps the ball was over the fielder's head, wandered too far off second base and was doubled off. And Laura's fly out to shallow left ended the inning.

The fifth started slowly, with groundouts by Vince and Alli, but Travis's two-out single offered some hope. Then Nel -- and for those of you who weren't there, I should set the stage. When Paris Review took the field in the bottom of the fifth, the girl who'd gone out to play right field hadn't taken a glove, because she didn't seem to realize she needed one. So Nel inside-outed a line drive right at her. Instant triple, scoring Travis. Then Mike got another ball on the handle of his bat, and drawn by Murphy's Law, that hit also fell into right field, scoring Nel. Being a big softie, however, Mike stopped at first and waited for the throw to come back into the infield, and it didn't make much difference as Joel then flew out to end the inning anyway.

In the sixth, CNap and Pat singled with one out, but Sal and Laura left them stranded. The seventh was more of the same, as Vince and Allie got the Bullets started with singles, but Travis's 6-5 fielder's choice, Nel's line out to shortstop, and Mike's 6-4 fielder's choice squelched any rally.

Finally, top eight, Paris Review's pitcher unloaded a long RBI triple to leftcenterfield, and he later scored on a groundout, and that was your final score: Bullets 7, Paris Review 3. Big thanks to the Paris Review for coming out. We had a good time.

At 4-3 (1-0 NYMSL), the Bullets play truTV next Thursday at home, North Meadow #2 in Central Park. The team also returns to NYMSL action next Friday, on the Great Lawn, against longtime rival High Times.

Bullet Box:
LF Travis Hastback - 3-4, R, double
SS Nel Yomtov - 2-4, 2 R, RBI, triple
3B Mike Lorah - 3-4, 2 R, RBI, double
P Joel Press 0-3
RCF Jay Kogan - 2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, double, triple
C/2B/RF Christine Napolitano - 2-3, RBI
RF Pat Brosseau - 2-3
1B Sal Cipriano - 0-3
1B/2B/C Laura Demoreuille - 0-3
LCF Vince Letterio - 2-3
C Allison Dugas - 2-3

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bullets Win for Losing Against WNYC

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the all-new, all-thrilling, less-trafficked DC Bullets softball game summary website! Woot! And our first entry, game summary of the team's first NYMSL game of 2011, this past Monday against WYNC.

How do you enter a game 2-2 and come out of it 3-3? Well, first WNYC musters only seven players for the first New York Media Softball League game of the 2011 season, granted the DC Bullets the win by forfeit. But of course, everybody wants to play some softball, so league record aside, we play on anyway. Super-Soldier Nel Yomtov and All-Star Laura Demoreuille gamely volunteered to spend the afternoon on the opposing team's roster, and the game was on! Alas, the radiomen's bolstered lineup upended DC 11-10 to had the Bullets the loss.

(I did suggest briefly that full-season records should count games actually played, while the NYMSL record is based on league rules - making us 2-3 overall, yet somehow 1-0 in NYMSL, but I'll bow to the captain's preference here.)

The game started with promise. After a one-out single by Neil Hiremath, Mike Lorah lined a two-run homer to dead centerfield (aided in part by the centerfielder's breaking in on a ball hit essentially at where he'd been standing). Jay Kogan and Pat Brosseau followed with hard line drive singles, but Sal Cipriano went down swinging and Allison Dugas grounded out to stall the momentum.

WNYC came out on the attack. A series of solid line drive hits allowed them to accumulate three runs in the first, and two more in the second (including a Nel Yomtov single). Both rallies got a boost from DC shortstop Travis Hastback (first inning) and third baseman Mike Lorah (second) allowing two-out, routine groundballs to go right through the wickets. After WNYC's three-run first, DC tied the game: Travis led off the second inning with his specialty, a hustling double, moved to third on Vince Letterio's groundout, and scored on 2011-debuting Brian Cunningham's sacrifice fly. As noted above, the shock jocks quickly retook the lead with two more tallies.

Down 5-3, DC went scoreless in the third and fourth innings - Jay's third inning double into shallow left (man, the ball just died when it hit that grass, and a long foul the previous pitch had the leftfielder playing as deep as possible - all the rain must be preventing the groundskeepers from mowing!) and Travis's single in the fourth being the only Bullet baserunners during those frames. WYNC also went quietly in the third, but pounded out three more runs in the fourth. And the inning could've been worse; the Bullets escaped further damage when Nel rolled a Larry Ganem flip-pitch into a 6-3 double play. Larry's flip caused later controversy that is maybe not worth revisiting.

Fortunately, the comic book makers still had some fight in them. Brian Cunningham led off the fifth with a bullet - right at WNYC's leftfielder. The next few hitters, however, found green. Larry and Neil singled, and Mike slammed a double into center (another ball-dies-in-thick-grass extra base knock), scoring both runners. After Jay's flyball to right moved Mike to third, Pat lined a single to left for the RBI, and Sal followed with a base hit to left ... this is one of the DC scorebook stats. It's listed as an RBI double. It was kind of a single, with Pat going first to third, Sal taking second on the throw to third, and then Pat scoring and Sal to third when the throw went wild and out of play. But yeah, RBI double for Sal! (I still remember Schlagman's double on a comebacker to the pitcher a few years ago!) Anyway, then Alli drove a pitch over the third baseman's head, plating Sal with the game-tying run.

DC kept WNYC off the board in the bottom of the fifth; the game remained 8-8. NYC returned the scoreless favor in top six: after singles by Vince and BC, Larry flew out and Neil and Mike grounded into consecutive 6-5 fielder's choices. WNYC capitalized on DC's missed chance, erupting for three more runs.

So it's top seven, down 11-8. Here we go: Jay flew out to center, where Nel conspicuously didn't drop, or at least juggle, the ball. Pat and Sal singled, and ... boy, this is embarrassing. I don't remember what happened. The book says they both singled, but somehow (throwing error, I guess), Pat scored and and Sal wound up on third. Sal being on third I definitely remember, because I was coaching third base at the time. Anyway, Pat scored, Sal's on third, okay? And Alli beat out a slow roller down the third base line - and Sal got a great read that although the ball was near the plate, nobody would be able to get it and get to him before he scored. So Sal crosses the plate, making it a one run game, with the tying run on first. Then Travis popped up to shortstop, but Vince came through with a two-out base hit to left, keeping the game alive, moving the tying run to scoring position. But WNYC's crafty pitcher got BC to roll over a 6-5 fielder's choice, ending the game.

It's worth noting that all three Bullet losses have been one-run games. So we've been hanging int there in every game, keeping it close. A little more consistence or one break going our way and our record would look a lot better. The team's played pretty solid ball all around, and hopefully we'll see regular wins soon!

At 3-3 (1-0 NYMSL), the Bullets play The Paris Review on Thursday on their home field, North Meadow #2 in Central Park.

Bullet Box:
P Larry Ganem - 1-4, R
LCF Neil Hiremath - 2-4, 2 R
3B Mike Lorah - 2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, double, homer
LF Jay Kogan - 2-4, double
RF Pat Brosseau - 3-4, 2 R, RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, double
C Allison Dugas - 2-4, RBI
SS Travis Hastback - 2-4, R, double
RCF Vince Letterio - 2-4
2B Brian Cunningham - 1-3, RBI, sac fly

And playing for WNYC:
2B Laura Demoreuille - 1-4
CF Nel Yomtov - 2-4, R