With the cost of softball field permits on the rise, the DC Bullets opted to forgo their usual season-opening practice and get right to game action, facing Bloomberg Thursday evening to kick off the 2012 season. The lack of rehearsal was obvious in the early innings, as both teams floundered to put runners on base. Trailing by a run going into the last of the sixth, the Bullets bats, however, shook off their slumber, scoring five times with two outs to seal the game. The final tally, in a nine-inning affair (both teams needed the extra reps!) - DC Bullets 7, Bloomberg 4.
Neither team scored in the first three innings. In truth, neither team threatened to score during those frames. The Bullets put runners on first and second in the first, with Christine CNap Napolitano and Andrew Arnold (and a big "welcome back" to Andrew - it's good to have you on the field again!) both lining clean singles, but no runner advanced past second base. Allison Klein roped a one-out single into right field in the second, and Sal Cipriano slammed a hard ground single to left in the third, but both runners were left stranded. The good news was that, despite the offensive struggles, the Bullets' defense looked tight in the early going - routine ground balls consistently turned into outs and several well-struck fly balls run down by the speedy outfielders.
Bloomberg drew first blood in the fourth, when a hard line drive to center skipped past Neil Hiremath. The relay throw wasn't in time to prevent the home run. One out later, Blake Kobashigawa (one of three Bullets playing for Bloomberg) singled and came around to score on two more base hits, spotting Bloomberg a two-run lead.
The Bullets halved the lead in the bottom half. After CNap's lead-off hit, Mike Lorah popped out to first base in foul territory. CNap was then thrown out going to third base on Andrew's base hit through the middle, but Andrew alertly took second on the throw to third and scored easily on John Choi's double to right center.
The fifth inning went quietly for both sides (Brian Cunningham's one-out double, crushed on one bounce off the left field fence notwithstanding), and DC's Pat Brosseau retired Bloomberg quickly in the top of the sixth.
Bottom six, things didn't start with much more promise than the previous five Bullet turns at the plate. Ailen Lugo lined out to shortshop, and Sal crushed a long flyout to deep left. With two gone, however, Neil Hiremath singled through the middle, and CNap beat out a hard roller to third - with both runners moving into scoring position on an overthrow past the first baseman. Reigning team MVP Mike Lorah, finally shaking off some rust, hammered a single to center, scoring Neil, tying the game. CNap stopped at third, and Mike took second on the throw home. Andrew followed with the go-ahead hit. John and Pat followed with a double and a single respectively, scoring Mike and Andrew, respectively, before Allison grounded out to end the inning.
After a quick top seven - with no late game and the sun setting, but present - both teams agreed to squeeze in two more innings. Nel Yomtov singled with two outs in bottom seven, but could not be advanced. In the eighth, DC added another insurance run: Sal doubled when the left fielder couldn't handle his long fly near the fence, moved to third on Neil's ground out and scored on CNap's roller to third. Mike added a two-out single before Andrew hit into the 6-4 fielder's choice to wrap up DC's offensive showing.
Bloomberg scored twice in the ninth against a tiring Pat Brosseau, who went the distance, deadball-era style, in the season opener, bringing the final tally to 7-4, Bullets.
The Bullets (1-0) meet The Daily Show on Monday evening at Dewitt Clinton Park. Everyone's encouraged to come out and cheer the team on in what's sure to be one of their most exciting games of the year!
A big thanks to Danielle Yannetta, Blake Kobashigawa and Dan Bertoldi for being good sports and joining the Bloomberg squad Thursday evening:
C Danielle Yannetta - 0-5
1B Blake Kobashigawa - 1-4, R
RF Dan Bertoldi - 1-4
CF Neil Hiremath - 1-4, R
RF/2B Christine Napolitano - 3-4, R, RBI
3B Mike Lorah - 2-4, R, RBI
LF/SS Andrew Arnold - 3-4, 2 R, RBI
DH John Choi - 2-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 doubles
P Pat Brosseau - 1-3
2B Allison Klein - 1-3
1B Brian Cunningham - 1-3, double
C Allison Dugas-Behan (a hearty Bullets congrats, Alli!) - 0-3
SS/LF Nel Yomtov - 1-3
RF Ailen Lugo - 0-3
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-3, R, double