Friday, July 29, 2011

Early Lead Holds Up, Bullets Top WNYC

The DC Bullets ran their New York Media Softball League record to 5-1 Thursday evening with a 10-7 win over WYNC. Playing shorthanded - with only three outfielders and without one of their most fearsome hitters - the determined WNYC team made quite a game of it, but DC jumped ahead early, taking a 10-3 lead after three innings, and held on to secure the win.

WNYC came out strong in the first inning, hitting solid line drives and running the bases aggressively. They tallied three quick runs in the first to put pressure on DC; however, the Bullets put themselves quickly back into the game. Neil Hiremath led off with a double into shallow centerfield, again, and Mike Lorah followed with a drive to deep center that plated two runs. The next hitter, Travis Hastback, sprinted to second on his gapper, making three consecutive extra base hits. WNYC nearly got out of the inning with the lead when John Choi flew out and Brian Walters popped up, but LP Vollano unleashed a bomb to deep left field. The triple tied the game, and LP rumbled home with the go-ahead run on Christine Napolitano's line base hit. After a Pat Brosseau single, Sal Cipriano flew out to left field.

After holding WNYC scoreless in the second, DC extended the lead: Larry Ganem lined a single past a diving shortstop. After 2011-debuting Allison Klein popped up (just getting the rust off) and Blake Kobashigawa flew out to left, Vince Letterio drew a five-pitch walk. Mike then ripped a ground ball just past the shortstop for an RBI single, and Travis drilled a two-run triple into the rightcenterfield gap. John flew out to end the frame.

The comic book makers struck again in the third, as LP singled with one out. CNap's fielder's choice took him off the board, but a two-out single from Pat gave Sal a chance, and Sal took advantage. The Bullets' captain launched a high fly down the left field line, hooking into the corner where it cleared the fence in fair territory - a three-run homer, and the Bullets' first over-the-fence long ball on their home field this summer. Larry doubled, but froze at second on Allison's bloop single. Blake grounded to third, where Larry was easily forced for the final out.

Despite the early offense, the Bullets went quietly over the final three innings. Neil singled in the fourth, but Mike's fielder's choice and fly outs from Travis and John netted nothing. CNap singled with two outs in the fifth, and we folded in order in the sixth.

WNYC's shock jocks, meanwhile, couldn't push a run across during the middle innings. Going into the sixth, their run count remained stuck on three. But things started to fall in again, and a couple questionable defensive plays by the Bullets afforded them an extra out and some extra bases. In the end, WNYC crossed the plate four more times, tightening the game. No surprise there: every game between these two teams comes down to the last inning.

However, top seven, crafty Larry Ganem set the opposition down quickly, inducing a pop-up to Brian at shortstop, a routine fly to Neil in left center, and then wrapping the game himself with his third strikeout of the afternoon (his second consecutive start with three Ks, I should note here - though the Marvel game didn't end as well).

Thanks to WNYC. The league standings say we won two this year, but forget that forfeit - the "for-fun" game that day stuck to the yearly WNYC-DC script: a season split. Hopefully we'll see you in the playoffs!

13-6 (5-1 NYMSL), the Bullets face High Times next Thursday, North Meadow #2. Both teams currently sport 5-1 NYMSL records, with High Times holding the tie-breaker due to their win over DC earlier this summer, so this is a big game for both squads.

Bullet Box:
LCF Neil Hiremath 2-2, R / LCF Vince Letterio - 0-0, R, BB
3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, home run
LF Travis Hastback - 2-3, R, 2 RBI, double, triple
RCF John Choi - 0-3
SS Brian Walters - 0-3
DH LP Vollano - 2-3, R, RBI, triple
RF Christine Napolitano - 2-3, R, RBI
RCF Pat Brosseau - 2-3, R
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, R, 3 RBI, home run
P Larry Ganem - 2-3, R, double
2B Allison Klein - 1-3
C Blake Kobashigawa - 0-2

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nailbiter! Bullets Top Forbes with Late Run

Softball games don't get much tighter or better than Thursday's New York Media Softball League showdown between the DC Bullets and Forbes. The first game between the two teams, a back-and-forth battle, ended with a one-run triumph for the comic book makers, who were looking to run their NYMSL record to 4-1.

They did just that, squeaking out another nailbiter during a 3-2 victory. Playing their second game of week in broiling temperatures, DC seemed slightly laconic in the early going. A few infield pop-ups dropped next to or between fielders, but the team caught a few breaks - usually able to convert a fielder's choice on the misplays - and kept the game close until they got their game legs.

Forbes scored twice in the second inning, but also left the bases loaded in the first, second and third innings. DC's defense, however, managed to come up with the inning-ender each time to prevent the game from getting away. Over the final four innings, Joel Press and his defensive unit kept Forbes from seriously threatening. Credit to, among others, Neil Hiremath, for playing a short field (something we've rarely done this year) and preventing at least three base hits, and Brian Walters for stepping in to play a steady shortstop. John Choi and Pat Brosseau each made a fine running catch in the outfield as well.

Offensively, the Bullets didn't muster much, but they did enough. Here's how it went:

In the first, Neil Hiremath flared a hit into shallow center and never broke stride, sprinting into second for a leadoff double. He tug up, moved to third on Mike Lorah's pop-up to right field, but was left stranded when Travis Hastback popped up to the catcher and John Choi grounded to shortstop.

After Forbes plated two runs in the second, DC immediately seized back some momentum. Brian Walters lined a single to right field, but it seemed he too might be stranded when Pat Brosseau and Christine Napolitano both flew out to left field - credit to Forbes' fielder for a terrific shoe-string grab of CNap's sinking liner. However, with two out, Sal Cipriano tomahawked a liner to left that skipped beneath the leftfielder's glove. Brian raced around from first for DC's first run, and Sal cruised into second. Joel then flew out to left to end the rally.

DC tied the game the following inning. Blake Kobashigawa ripped a line double into the leftcenterfield gap. After Allison Dugas struck out, Blake sprinted home on Neil Hiremath's second double of the afternoon. Mike followed with a bullet at the pitcher, whose reflexes perhaps saved his own life, and certainly stole a hit from Mike. Travis flew out to end the frame, and the game remained knotted for two more innings.

John, Brian and Pat retired in order in the fourth, and CNap, Sal and Joel followed suit in the fifth. Credit again to a Forbes' fielder, their shortstop this time, for a spectacular catch on Sal's no-man's-land pop-up down the left field line.

Blake, after scoring the tying run, started the winning rally with his second hit of the game, a single to left. Alli's groundout to third move Blake into scoring position, where he stayed when Neil popped up to shortstop. Mike Lorah, riding an 0-2 game, came through, slapping the game-winning hit just over a leaping second baseman. Travis followed with a base hit, but John popped up to wrap the sixth.

Top seven, Joel made it a tiny bit interesting, walking the tying run with two outs, but induced a routine grounder to third to end the game.

Again, thanks to Forbes for a terrific game. Two showdowns, two one-run affairs. We seem to match up pretty well - and we definitely look forward to doing it again. Hopefully a playoff meeting is in the cards for us!

12-6 (4-1 NYMSL), the Bullets tackle WNYC next Thursday on North Meadow #2 in another NYMSL blockbuster.

Bullet Box:
LCF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, RBI, two doubles
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, RBI
LF Travis Hastback - 1-3
OF/1B John Choi - 0-3
SS Brian Walters - 1-2, R
RCF Pat Brosseau - 0-2
2B Christine Napolitano - 0-2
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-2, RBI, double
P Joel Press - 0-2
RF Blake Kobashigawa - 2-2, 2 R, double
C Allison Dugas - 0-2

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bullets' Late Rally Torches Vanity Fair

It's been a hot week, and Tuesday's game against Vanity Fair was a scorcher. The DC Bullets charged ahead early, wore down in the middle as VF rallied back to tie the game, and then put the game away with a late run. The game's 13-6 finale score doesn't do credit to the closeness of the game.

The Bullets jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead over the first three innings before VF answered with six runs of their own. In the first, Neil Hiremath sprinted around first and into second on a hit into shallow centerfield, took third on Mike Lorah's fly out to deep center, and crossed the plate on Travis Hastback's sacrifice fly to left field.

Brian Walters and Pat Brosseau both singled to start the second. After Christine Napolitano's fielder's choice erased Brian, LP Vollano and Sal Cipriano lined base hits into center- and leftfields respectively, scoring Pat and CNap for a 3-0 lead.

The Bullets doubled their run total in the third: After Blake Kobashigawa grounded to third in his first-ever Bullet at-bat (welcome aboard, Blake!), Neil collected his second hit. Mike followed with a single to left, and Neil went first-to-third, setting him up to score on Travis's RBI groundout. John ripped a single down the leftfield line to chase Mike home, and then back-to-back two-out hits by Brian and Pat scored John.

Vanity Fair, however, was beginning to figure out Mike Lorah, making his first pitching appearance of the year. Or perhaps Mike was just getting royally frustrated from the combination of heat and patient VF hitters. He's usually such a patient guy, too! Either way ... Vanity Fair equaled DC's three-spot in the bottom of the third, and when DC managed only Sal's one-out single in the fourth and no offense in the fifth, VF squeaked out another three runs to knot the score, 6 apiece.

DC took back the lead for good in the sixth. With John Choi at second following a double and two outs, Pat Brosseau came through with a Pat Special - a liner past VF's rightfielder for a two-run go-ahead homer!

A scoreless bottom six allowed DC to put some icing on the cake in the seventh. LP and Sal singled, Joel Press flew out and Allison Dugas grounded into a fielder's choice. Then, with two away, Blake, Neil, Mike Travis and John singled in sequence to score five runs.

With daylight waning but the heat not, Mike set Vanity Fair down in order, getting a routine grounder to shortstop and back-to-back flyouts to Neil to wrap up the game.

Thanks for the game, Vanity Fair. Let's do it on a cooler day next year though!

11-6 (3-1 NYMSL), the Bullets face Forbes tonight on North Meadow #2 in New York Media Softball League action.

Bullet Box:
OF Neil Hiremath - 3-4, 3 R, RBI, double
P Mike Lorah - 2-4, 2 R, RBI
LF Travis Hastback - 1-3, 2 R, 4 RBI, sac fly
UT John Choi - 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, double
3B Brian Walters - 2-4
OF Pat Brosseau - 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, double, home run
2B/RF Christine Napolitano - 0-3, R
DH LP Vollano - 2-3, RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-3, R, RBI
SS Joel Press - 0-3
C Allison Dugas - 0-3, R
OF Blake Kobashigawa - 1-3, R

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clobberin' Time: Marvel Pummels Bullets

Well, there's no easy way to put this one. The DC Bullets played one of their worst games of the year, and Marvel - or so they told me, perhaps trying to ease the pain as I sobbed into my beer at McGees - played one of their best of the 2011 summer.

In the end, Marvel schooled the Bullets, 18-4.

And the game looked competitive after one inning. Marvel struck hard in the first. They took advantage of a few DC miscues, but mostly just hit the stuffing out of the ball. The first-inning six spot could've been a run or two less, or we could've written it off as a traditional Bullets first inning.

Bottom of the first, the Bullets played their part - beginning to dig out of their early hole. Neil Hiremath slapped a ball into shallow left and hustled it into a double, and Mike Lorah lined a single off a leaping second baseman's glove. Travis Hastback singled to score Neil, and John Choi loaded the bases with another hit. Brian Walters's sacrifice fly to right added a second run, and then Travis raced home on an errant throw, and DC halved the lead with only one out. After LP Vollano popped up, CNap punched a single to left for a fourth run, (Note the final score here.) before Pat Brosseau grounded out to end the rally.

Marvel scored four more in the second. Nothing in the third. Three in the fourth, including a booming triple deep to left center; one in the fifth; two in the sixth (including a homer); and two more in the seventh. For the most part, the runs were legit. Joel Press had a couple throwing errors, Mike couldn't field a couple hits cleanly, Pat lost a ball in the sun, and Travis bobbled a pair of singles in left to allow for extra bases - but by and large, Marvel earned their scores, particularly after the first inning.

The Bullets ... well, we had plenty of chances, but couldn't get the big hit. The team went in order in the second, but loaded the bases in the second on singles by Larry, Neil and Travis. Alas, each hit was followed immediately by an out. Brian, Pat and Sal singled in the fourth, but no runs crossed. Down in order in the fifth. Travis's two-out single was the entire sixth-inning offense. And bottom seven, with it all on the line, CNap and Pat singled with two out before Sal popped up to wrap this embarrassing effort. And some credit must be given to Marvel for getting the big outs - after Travis's sixth-inning single, John crushed a drive to deep left field, and Marvel's leftfielder hauled it in, a spectacular snare near the fence.

Hey, we picked a bad day to have a bad game. It's over, and we have a chance to pick it up on Tuesday against Vanity Fair, so everybody take a deep breath and get ready to kick some ass. Larry Ganem went five perfect innings against these guys in a win last summer.

Thanks to Marvel for coming out for the game and hanging out at McGees afterwards. It was embarrassing, but still a fun time. We'll show up next year, I promise!
Also, a tip of the hat to Broadway star Spider-Man for showing up to support his team.

10-6 (3-1 NYMSL), the Bullets meet Vanity Fair on Tuesday and then are back in NYMSL on Thursday.

Bullet Box:
OF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, R, double
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R
LF Travis Hastback - 3-3, R, RBI
OF/SS John Choi - 1-3, R
2B/OF/3B Brian Walters - 1-2, RBI, sac fly
DH LP Vollano - 0-3
2B/C Christine Napolitano - 2-3, RBI
OF Pat Brosseau - 2-3
1B/C Sal Cipriano - 1-3
SS Joel Press - 0-2
C/2B/1B Laura Demorueille - 0-2
P Larry Ganem - 1-2
C Allison Dugas - 0-2

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bullets (and Friends) Double Up ProPublica

Those holiday weekends, they're always complicating the softball schedule. With DC Comics having a half-day and many of the team's players having weekend plans, the Bullets who hung around for the game scrapped together a team, MacGuyver-style, from chewing gum, paper clips, friends (one of whom hadn't played ball since Little League), random strangers in Central Park and baling twine.

But somehow, it was enough to secure a 14-7 win over ProPublica (who, I have it on record, used a ringer or two themselves!). First, a thanks to the Bullets who attended: Pat Brosseau, Mike Lorah, Brian Walters, Sal Cipriano and Laura Demoreuille.

And introducing the rest of our cast:
Sal's pal "Bashing" Bill McLaughlin; Mike's amigos "Pummeling" Paul Flannery (last game, Little League) and Tony "T-Rex" Weston (last game, eight years ago); and Central Park walk-ons Nathan "Lefty" Laliberte and "Optimus Prime" Joel Noyes. Also, a hand for Cathy "Love o' My Life" Szumski for catching the first inning until Laura arrived!

With a roster of unknown players, the defensive alignment wound up being the Bullets' biggest concern. The question marks were revealed and answered in the first inning, as DC's defense opened the door for a four-run ProPublica first inning. Brian and Sal began to think that perhaps we shouldn't be writing this one up... But a defense realignment in the second, and Laura's arrival, tightened up the defense, as DC wouldn't give up that many total runs for the remainder of the game.

Down four, DC began methodically digging out. Mike ripped a one-out double and scored on Brian's scorched base hit to right field in the first. Only two first inning hits, but we got a run out of it. After a scoreless top two for ProPublica, Bill led off with a solo home run to right center, and one out later, Tony and Joel lined singles to center to set up another opportunity. Paul needed an at-bat to get the rust off, as he fouled off this third swing for the second out, but Pat scalded a base hit to left to score Tony, pulling the Bullets within a run after two innings, before Mike flew out to deep center.

ProPublica tacked on two runs in the third, pressing their advantage to three runs. Brian singled to get DC's biggest rally started. After Sal's fly out to left (that guy had him played perfectly all day long), Laura rapped a base hit into center and Bill added an RBI base hit. Nathan singled to load the bases, and Tony punched a two-run line drive into center field, tying the game. Joel's fielder's choice erased Tony, but moved Nathan to third base with the go-ahead run, and Paul chased him home with a rope single to left field. Pat lined out hard to third base, but DC led the rest of the way.

A scoreless ProPublica turn in the fourth gave the comic book makers a chance to open up their lead. Mike and Brian singled to center field, both times nearly making outs when ProPublica's fifth outfielder, all seven-years-old and forty pounds of him, missed both line drives by inches. Next year those balls won't clear him. Hell, next month they might not. After two straight outs, Bill laced a single to center, scoring Mike, and Brian took advantage of an errant throw to sprint home with a second run.

DC tacked on three runs in the fifth: Tony singled for the third time, and Joel cut him down with a fielder's choice for the second time. Paul singled, and after Pat's fly out, Mike loaded the bases with a two-out hit. Brian hammered a double to right field, scoring two runs, and Sal pushed Mike across with a base hit.

Bill's second time leading off an inning went the same as his first: a solo homer to right center, and then Nathan scalded a triple down the right field line. Tony's line drive to center allowed Nathan to trot home with DC's final run. ProPublica broke a three-inning scoreless streak by pitcher Sal, tallying a final run in the top of the seventh - aided in part by a too-hot-to-handle liner by ProPublica's youngest member, that ate up Mike at third base.

A huge, huge thank you to ProPublica for coming out on a holiday weekend and for a fun game, and to Bill, Nathan, Tony, Joel, Paul and Cathy for playing with us. Check that box score below: we really couldn't have done it without you. There were more hits from the five ringers than our five regulars, including two (of three) 4-4 days!
Note: except Paul and Tony, who rotated at catcher and right field, all split position are first inning/second inning-on. We figured out our defensive strengths quickly.

10-5 (3-1 NYMSL), the Bullets finally return to their homefield, North Meadow #2 on Thursday at 5:30 for their next game action.

Bullets Box:
RCF/LF Pat Brosseau - 1-5, RBI
P/3B Mike Lorah - 3-4, 3 R, double
3B/SS Brian Walters - 4-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, double
1B/P Sal Cipriano - 1-4, RBI
1B Laura Demoreuille - 1-4, R
LCF Bill McLaughlin - 4-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 home runs
SS/2B Nathan Laliberte - 2-4, 2 R, triple
RF/C Tony Weston - 4-4, 2 R, 3 RBI
LF/RCF Joel Noyes - 1-4, R
2B/RF/C Paul Flannery - 2-4, R, RBI
C Cathy Szumski - 0-0

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bullets Run Record to 3-1 in NYMSL - Double up Newsweek/Daily Beast

Thursday afternoon at Riverside Park, the DC Bullets topped Newsweek/Daily Beast 20-10 to run their New York Media Softball League record to 3-1. The game, however, was closer than it first appeared. A late-game bout of pitching wildness and a few defensive lapses allowed DC to pull away in a game that remained a nail-biter through five innings.

DC jumped out to a quick lead in the first. With one away, Mike Lorah beat out an infield single, and Travis Hastback lasered a single to left. John Choi followed with a base hit, scoring Mike, and after Vince Letterio popped up for the second out, Nel Yomtov (adding to his super-soldier legend, playing on a stress fracture in his foot!) tripled to give his team an early 3-0 lead.

In the second, Brian Walters led off with a base hit. One out later, LP Vollano crushed a towering drive to deep left centerfield. Brian scored easily, but third base coach Joel Press got a little aggressive and LP was dead meat at the plate. Newsbeast matched the run in their half, as their first hitter in the second crushed a solo home run to left field.

After a Joel Press single, Larry Ganem grounded into a fielder's choice, and then went to third when Mike Lorah bounced a double off the top quarter of the right field wall. Yeah, that's right, the Riverside Park right field wall, top quarter. "A thing of beauty," Brian Walters was heard to say of the hit. Travis scored Larry with a sacrifice fly, and John added an RBI single, driving Mike home. Newsbeast, however, responded in force, tallying four runs in the bottom half, making it a one-run game.

Fourth inning: Nel, CNap and Brian singled to load the bases, and Sal Cipriano drove home a run with an RBI fielder's choice. LP added a second run with a ground out. Laura Demoreuille and Joel walked to load the bases, but Pat Brosseau popped out to stall the threat. Newsbeast scored a single run in the fourth, and after a scoreless turn by the Bullets, another in the fifth to again keep the game close. The comic book makers held an 8-7 edge going into the sixth. And that's when the game got out of hand.

After Nel lined a base hit to center and CNap lined out to third, Brian and Sal took back-to-back walks. LP doubled for two runs, and Laura did the same. Joel popped up for the second out, but Larry Ganem drove home another run with a two-out single to center. Mike added a hit, and then Travis and John doubled for three more runs. The eight run outburst put the game nearly out of reach; Newsbeast, however, remained resilient, scoring once in the bottom half, another long solo homer from their clean-up hitter.

DC tacked on quickly in the seventh. Singles by Nel and Brian, sandwiched around CNap's walk, loaded the bases for Sal, who unloaded a long drive to left field, making for an easy grand slam homer. LP, Laura and Joel went down in sequence then, which is probably good - it was getting pretty dark.

Newsbeast scored twice in the last of the seventh, giving us our final 20-10 score.

9-5 (3-1 NYMSL), the Bullets (and some friends, it seems) play ProPublica this evening on Great Lawn #3.

Bullet Box:
OF/C Pat Brosseau 0-2 / P Larry Ganem 1-2, 2 R, RBI
3B Mike Lorah - 4-4, 3 R, double
LF Travis Hastback - 2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, double, sac fly
C John Choi - 3-4, R, 3 RBI, double
OF Vince Letterio - 0-4
SS Nel Yomtov - 4-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, triple
2B Christine Napolitano - 1-3, R, BB
OF/C Brian Walters - 3-3, 4 R, BB
OF/C Sal Cipriano - 1-3, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, home run
DH LP Vollano - 2-4, R, 4 RBI, double, triple
1B Laura Demoreuille - 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, double
SS Joel Press - 1-3, BB