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

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