Friday, August 19, 2011

Playoff Picture Coming into Focus as Bullets Topple Newsbeast

Newsweek/Daily Beast came into Thursday night's game needing a win to clinch a spot in the New York Media Softball League playoff picture. The DC Bullets, however, weren't cooperating, as the comic book makers scored early and regularly to secure an 8-6 victory. (Forbes knocked out WNYC later Thursday evening, so Newsbeast is in the playoffs anyway.)

After a quick and scoreless top first from Newsbeast, DC scored two quick runs for an early lead. Travis Hastback singled and went to third on Mike Lorah's line hit to left field. Mike raced into second on the throw, and both runners moved up - Travis scoring, Mike to third - when the throw to third wound up in the dugout. John Choi's sacrifice fly to shallow left plated the second run. Jay Kogan added a one-out single, but Pat Brosseau's fly out and Vince Letterio grounder left him stranded.

Newsbeast took the momentum in their favor in the second, as their three-run outburst gave them an early lead. The inning could've been much worse for the Bullets, however. Newsbeast scored twice, tying the game, and loaded the bases without a single out. Three of the next four batters were retired, however; DC ace Larry Ganem induced a foul pop-out to first base and a trickling comebacker that Larry took to the plate himself for the first two outs, preventing extra runs from scoring.

Christine Napolitano's base hit led off the last of the second. CNap went to third on Sal Cipriano's single (Sal would leave the game with heat symptoms after the inning, but his one hit set up an important run), but Joel Press's pop-up to short and Larry's line out to shallow right center kept her on third temporarily. Jeff Boison, henceforth known as Captain Clutch, came up with a huge two-out hit, grounding a single into left to score CNap with the tying run.

After a scoreless Newsbeast turn in the third, DC doubled their run output and retook the lead. Blake Kobashigawa singled, and after Mike was robbed of extra bases in deep center field (nice catch!), John, Jay and Pat drilled base hits. Blake scored on Jay's hit, and John also came home on an errant throw. Jay, who advanced to third on the throw, scored on Pat's hit. Vince lined out and CNap grounded to third to halt the inning, but DC took a 6-3 lead to the fourth.

Newsbeast went quietly again (despite a few loud foul balls!), and after Joel popped up in the fourth, Larry ripped a hard single to left center. Jeff grounded another hit to left and Allison Dugas worked a full-count walk, loading the bases with one out. Larry and Jeff both came home on Travis's rope single to center, before Blake grounded into a 5-3 double play.

Both teams put up 0s in the fifth, as DC mustered only Mike's leadoff single. Newsbeast rallied in the sixth, scoring three times to cut the Bullets' lead to 8-6. Vince, CNap and Joel went down in order, and DC nursed their two-run lead into the seventh.

After a groundout to third and a sharp single to left, Newsbeast brought their third and fourth hitters to the plate as the potential tying run. Both had drilled sharp line drives to deep left earlier in the game, and left fielder Travis played them accordingly deep. This time, both hitters reached for short pitches and popped high fly balls into shallow left field, no man's land. And both times, with Andrew Arnoldesque range, Travis closed on the dying flares and made back-to-back diving catches to secure the victory for DC.

14-8 (6-3 NYMSL), the Bullets's 2011 season finale is tomorrow, Saturday morning, against Wall St. Journal. The playoffs are currently scheduled for Sept. 10 on Hecksher fields.

Bullet Box
LF Travis Hastback - 2-2, R, RBI
RF Blake Kobashigawa - 1-2, R
3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, R
SS John Choi - 1-2, R, RBI, sac fly
RCF Jay Kogan - 2-3, R, RBI
RF Pat Brosseau - 1-3, RBI
LCF Vince Letterio - 0-3
2B Christine Napolitano - 1-3, R
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-1
SS/1B Joel Press - 0-3
P Larry Ganem - 1-2, R
RCF Jeff Boison - 2-2, R, RBI
C Allison Dugas - 0-1, BB

*box note: Travis and Blake began the game alternating as leadoff hitter, but both were allowed to hit after Sal exited the game early. Travis batted in the first, Blake in the third, and both in the fourth. We did not have a 13-person line-up in a NYMSL game.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Playoff Permutations

From League Commish Steve Bloom on the final week of the regular season:

HT, WSJ and DC have clinched playoff seedings.

If HT beats WSJ on 8/15, HT finishes 1st with a 9-1 record.

If WSJ beats HT on 8/15 and beats DC on 8/20, WSJ and HT will tie for 1st
place with 8-2 records. Who finishes 1st will be determined by run
differential. HT defeated WSJ 11-9 on 8/4.

If WSJ beats HT on 8/15 and loses to DC on 8/20, HT finishes 1st with an
8-2 record.

If WSJ loses to HT on 8/15 and beats DC on 8/20, WSJ finishes with a 7-3
record. If DC beats NWB on 8/18 and beats WSJ on 8/20, DC finishes with a
7-3 record. Who finishes 2nd will be determined by run differential. WSJ
defeated DC 11-4 on 8/11.

If DC beats NWB on 8/18 and WSJ on 8/20, and WSJ loses to HT on 8/15 and
DC on 8/20, DC finishes 2nd with a 7-3 record.

If WSJ loses to HT on 8/15 and loses to DC on 8/20, WSJ finishes with a
6-4 record. If DC beats NWB on 8/18 and loses to WSJ on 8/20, DC finishes
with a 6-4 record. Who finishes 2nd will be determined by run

If WSJ loses to HT on 8/15 and loses to DC on 8/20, WSJ finishes with a
6-4 record. If DC loses to NWB on 8/18 and beat to WSJ on 8/20, DC
finishes with a 6-4 record. Who finishes 2nd will be determined by run

If NWB beats DC on 8/18, NWB finishes 4th with 4-6 record.

If DC beats NWB on 8/18 and Forbes beats NYC on 8/18, NWB finishes 4th
with a 3-7 record. NWB wins the tiebreaker with Forbes, 26-20.

If DC beats NWB on 8/18 and NYC beats Forbes on 8/18, NYC finishes 4th
with a 3-7 record. NYC wins the tiebreaker with NWB, 17-5.

Forbes is officially out of playoff contention.

Friday, August 12, 2011

DC Bullets Hit a Wall (Street Journal)

Wall Street Journal, the two time defending NYMSL champs came to North Meadow #2 with their A-line-up and launched an abundance of home runs to beat the Bullets 11-4. With the win, WSJ moves up into second place over DC in the New York Media Softball League.

WSJ plated two runs in the first, but the Bullets valiantly threw up three of their own in what felt like it could be a close one. After Neil Hiremath and Travis Hastback went down, 3B replacement Ian Parfrey, making his second career appearance for the Bullets, singled to right. Jay Kogan, beastly as ever, plated Ian with a double, and John Choi followed up with a single to score him. Birthday boy Pat Brosseau completed the first inning scoring with a run scoring triple.

After trading doughnuts in the second inning, WSJ turned on the juices and scored 4 big runs in the third, followed by 2 more in the fourth. A few of these were absolute bombs off of pitcher Joel Press. The Bullets scored one more run in the bottom of the inning, and that would close out DC's scoring. Ian smacked a double to left, and moved to third on a single by Jay, who moved to second while Ian faked a run home. John's RBI ground out scored Ian.

A questionable double play call effectively ended any Bullets' chance in the bottom of the sixth. Blake and Neil were the runners, so even with WSJ superhuman infield you can imagine that doubling them up would be tough. And it was, just the ump, admittedly, missed it.

WSJ plated two more (why not?) in the top of the seventh, but a single by Jay was all the Bullets were able to muster to end the game. A frustrating loss, considering DC played good defense behind Joel. WSJ's good pitcher, great defensive, and the cavalcade of what has to be former minor league or college stars, though, was ultimately just too much. There's a reason they are two-time champs.

These two teams meet again next Saturday, 8/20, in a make up of an earlier rain-out. Next Thursday, though, the Bullets play their penultimate league match-up against Daily Beast/Newsweek at North Meadow #2. NewsBeast themselves face WSJ tomorrow morning. A win by the Beast would make next Thursday's game huge as far as play off seeding goes. An intriguing final week of NYMSL action looms...

Bullets Box:

OF Neil Hiremath: 0-3
LF Travis Hastback: 0-3
3B Ian Parfrey: 2-3 2R 2B
OF Jay Kogan: 3-3 R RBI 2B
SS John Choi: 1-3 R 2RBI
RF Pat Brosseau: 1-2 RBI 3B
2B/C Christine Napolitano: 0-2
1B Sal Cipriano: 0-2
OF Vince Letterio: 1-2
P Joel Press: 0-2
C/2B: Allison Klein: 1-2
RF: Blake Kobashigawa: 0-2

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bullets Lament Missed Opportunities in Loss to High Times

If your glass is half full, the DC Bullets rallied back from an 8-0 hole to tie Thursday evening's game against High Times at 8 apiece after the sixth inning before dropping an 11-9 decision. If your glass is half empty, the team let opportunities for more than a moral victory slip right through their fingers.

High Times took the advantage quickly, scoring three times in the first. The Bullets mustered only Mike Lorah's one-out line drive single. High Times kept pressure on DC in the second - using hard hit balls and aggressive baserunning to tally five more runs, giving them a strong 8-0 lead.

Bottom two, the comic book makers began to scrape back into the game. After LP Vollano's groundout and Brian Walter's hard-hit line out to right center, four straight batters reached. Christine Napolitano lined a hit down the left field line, and Sal Cipriano and Vince Letterio followed suit - with just a bit more pop. Back to back doubles scored two runs, Lalida Musso capped the scoring with a base hit to score Vince, before Blake Kobashigawa popped up to end the inning.

The third inning went quickly for both teams, with Allison Dugas singling to lead off the frame to DC. But Pat Brosseau's fly out and Mike Lorah's hard hit tailor-made 4-6-3 double play ball squelched the threat. After High Times went scoreless again in the fourth, Travis Hastback and Jay Kogan lined singles to start the bottom half. Travis sprinted around to third on Jay's hit. After LP lined hard to shortstop, Brian smashed another hot shot to right center. Again, it was caught, but Travis was able to tag and score the Bullets' fourth run. Sal popped up to right center (opposite field from the captain!?) to end the frame.

Both teams went quietly and quickly in the fifth, and DC kept High Times' high-powered offense in check one more time in the sixth. After Allison popped up to the pitcher leading off the bottom half, Neil Hiremath (a late arrival) blooped a single to center. Mike followed with a line single to right center, and Travis popped up for the second out. Jay Kogan, however, remains a clutch force, hammering a double to deep left field, scoring Neil and Mike. John Choi (another late arrival) singled, moving Jay to third. Brian singled to score Jay, knotting the game at eight runs apiece, and CNap added another to load the bases. Sal flew out to shallow left, however - a missed chance. So we went to the seventh, all tied up.

After a line out to first, Neil misjudged a towering (and deep) fly ball to left center, which fell for a triple. The ensuing hitter rolled over a routine groundball to third, and Mike - wanting to throw home with the runner going on contact - peeked to see how much time he had to make the throw. Unfortunately, that meant he was watching the runner, not the ball, and the roller trickled between his legs for a run-scoring single. Also, alas, it brought up the top of HT's line-up. Three more hits produced two more runs before the Bullets escaped the inning.

Last licks, Vince grounded to third for the first out. Lalida also drilled a roller down the third base line, but this time the ball wasn't fielded cleanly. A rushed throw went wide of first and was deflected by the lunging first baseman down the right field line. Lalida alertly raced to third, where the return throw inbetween-hopped the third baseman and kicked away, allowing Lalida to sprint home with one vital run. However, it would be the final run: Blake popped up and Allison grounded to shortstop to wrap the game.

What else is there to say? It was a tight game - both teams played good defense for the most part, and both teams took advantage of the opportunties they were given. Despite the lopsided record in High Times favor in recent years, the teams match up pretty well, and hopefully DC takes Thursday's showing as a confidence builder if we're fortunate enough to go against HT in the playoffs.

Next Thursday, the Bullets (13-7, 5-2 NYMSL) have another big game, facing defending NYMSL champion Wall St. Journal for the first time in 2011. North Meadow #2, 5:30.

Bullet Box:
RF/P Pat Brosseau - 0-2 // LCF Neil Hiremath - 1-1, R
3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, R
LF Travis Hastback - 1-3, R
RCF Jay Kogan - 2-3, R, 2 RBI, double
DH LP Vollano - 0-2 // RCF John Choi - 1-1, R
SS Brian Walters - 1-2, 2 RBI, sac fly
P/RF Christine Napolitano - 3-3, R
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, R, RBI, double
LCF Vince Letterio - 1-3, R, RBI, double
2B Lalida Musso - 2-3, R, RBI
C Blake Kobashigawa - 0-3
C Allison Dugas - 1-3