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.

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