Forbes came into Thursday evening's game undefeated in their first season in the New York Media Softball League. Okay, sure, they were 1-0 and it's a small sample, but they hadn't lost. After sluggish starts by both offenses and a back-and-forth affair late, the Bullets triumphed 9-8.
DC grabbed a quick first-inning lead, as Neil Hiremath singled and went to third on Mike Lorah's base hit to right. Pat Brosseau's fielder's choice scored Neil. After Jay Kogan's fly out to left, John Choi singled, but Joel Press grounded into a fielder's choice to end the frame. The Bullets then went in order in the second (including Allison Dugas being robbed when the short left fielder threw her out at first) and mustered only Brian Walters' leadoff single in the third.
Fortunately, Larry Ganem and the Bullet defense kept Forbes off the board entirely, and DC clung to a tight 1-0 lead after three innings. The comic book makers tacked on a run in the fourth, when Mike crushed a double to right center, moved to third on Pat's groundout and scored on Jay's sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, the top of Forbes' line-up found their rhythm the second time through against Larry - Forbes tallied five fourth-inning runs, capped by a home run over the towering right field wall on the Riverside Park field.
The Bullets persevered - "If they can score five, so can we." Actually, for a moment, it almost didn't happen. Lalida Musso, playing her first game for the East Coast branch, singled and moved to second on an overthrow. Being unfamiliar with the league rules, she led away from second base on the first pitch to LP Vollano - and the umpire called her out! After some arguing, consultation with Commissioner Steve Bloom and Forbes' good sportsmanship, Lalida got away with a warning and remained on second. LP grounded back to the pitcher, who pivoted and attempted to throw in behind Lalida at second - she got back before the tag, and LP hustled down to first safely.
Sal roped a ball into the hole between third and shortstop, but Forbes' shortstop made a ridiculous backhand play and tossed to third to force Lalida. That's a tough fielder's choice. (And it was the second crazy awesome backhand play that guy made against us.) After Brian Walters lined out to the short fielder in right field, a five-run inning seemed unlikely. But CNap lined a base hit to left, loading the bases, and Jeff Boison cashed in two runs with a line drive to center, with CNap and Jeff both alerting moving up on the throw home. Neil singled to center, scoring CNap and Jeff, and then Neil capped the scoring by never slowing down, coming all the way around from first on Mike's hammered line drive to center.
Forbes tallied another run in their half of the fifth, keeping it a one-run game. The Bullets missed a chance to add to their lead in the sixth. Joel worked a two-out walk, went to third on Alli's single, but was left stranded when LP flew out. Probably didn't help that John didn't run hard to first on a line drive into shallow left. The overly aggressive, and strong-armed short fielder threw him out. Last of the sixth, with one aboard, a Forbes hitter drilled a rope down the left field line, where it rolled and rolled...
and rolled. Both runners scored before John even caught up to the ball, and Forbes took a one run lead to the seventh. But hey, the Bullets are nothing if not resilient. And I told you we won in the lead. Sal led off the seventh with an infield single and took second on an overthrow. After Brian popped out to the catcher, CNap singled and moved Sal to third. Jeff's grounder through the middle scored Sal, tying the game. CNap hustled around to third on the play, and Larry Ganem collected the game-winning RBI with a single to left field. A bigger inning came up short when Mike grounded into a 6-3 double play, but that didn't matter: after a bottom seven leadoff single, Larry induced three ground balls, ending the game with consecutive 5-4, 6-4, 6-4 fielder's choices.
First of all, a big welcome and thanks to Forbes. It was a terrific game, lots of back and forth, and I think I speak for all the Bullets that we can't wait for the rematch! And a thank you to Lalida Musso for coming out for the game during her brief East Coast visit. You're welcome to play again any time, and never mind all those nasty things CNap says about you!
Credit also to some defensive highlights: Sal's sliding catch of a popup that fell between the branches of an overhanging tree, Mike's backhand stab, and catches made near the wall in right field by Brian and Jay.
7-5 (2-1 NYMSL), the Bullets meet The Economist on Monday, North Meadow #10.
LCF Neil Hiremath - 2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI / P Larry Ganem - 1-2, RBI
3B Mike Lorah - 3-4, R, RBI, double
RF Pat Brosseau - 0-3, RBI
RCF Jay Kogan - 0-2, RBI
LF John Choi - 2-3
SS Joel Press - 0-2, BB
C Allison Dugas - 1-2 / 2B Lalida Musso - 1-1
DH LP Vollano 0-3, R
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, 2 R
RCF Brian Walters - 1-3
C/2B - Christine Napolitano - 2-3, 2 R
RF Jeff Boison - 2-3, R, 3 RBI