Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New York Mag Defeats Bullets in Slugfest

After last Thursday evening's rainout, the team returned to action Tuesday night (in a light drizzle) against New York magazine. Taking advantage of cozy dimensions at James J. Walker Park, both teams ran up the score. However, riding a fourteen-run third inning, New York came out on top, besting the Bullets 19-14.

If you need reminding or have never seen Walker Park, here's what you need to know: the fence is only 200 feet from home plate and is about twenty-five feet high. Due to their field's dimensions, New York's ground rules require only three outfielders and limit each team to three over-the-fence home runs. The host also plays a nine-inning game.

For a game that totaled 33 runs, the first inning began quietly. After the first two Bullets were retired, John Choi blasted a high floater over the left field fence onto Leroy St. Jay grounded out to end the first. New York's #3 hitter also slammed a ball out of the field, except he did so after singles by both of the hitters ahead of him in the line-up. The Bullets trailed 3-1 after one inning.

Second inning: Pat Brosseau ripped a single back through the middle, moved to second on Allison Dugas's groundout, and scored when Vince Letterio hammered a double off the base of the fence. It was only the first display the offensive showing Vince had in store for the evening. He moved to third on Joel Press's single and scored on a sacrifice fly from Larry Ganem. The Bullets turned New York away in the bottom of the second, and added on a run in the third. Sal Cipriano doubled with one out and, after Mike Lorah was robbed of a base hit by the shortstop ranging far into the hole and throwing a bullet to first, came around to score on John's single. Jay added another hit before Pat's fielder's choice brought New York to the plate for their third-inning licks.

And they scored fourteen runs. That's really all there is to say about it. Oh, twelve of those runs scored with two outs. A solid 95% of the at-bats ended with line drives scorched cleanly into a hole somewhere on the field. I think the Bullets were victimized by two bad hops, but the opposition simply pummeled the comic book makers for a solid half hour (or so it seemed).

But DC's a resilient squad. Vince and Joel singled to start the fourth, and Vince came home on Larry's fielder's choice. Dan and Nel added singles to score Larry.

Five runs scored in the fifth, started with Mike lining a single through the middle, nearly decapitating the pitcher. John launched another home run, and then Jay followed suit. They simply couldn't contain their powerful swings, so that whole wait-until-you've-baserunners-'cause-you-only-get-three-homers theory of hitting was lost on them. Two outs later, Vince doubled again, Joel singled, and Larry sliced a ball into the right field corner with a check-swing, scoring both runners. New York got one back that inning.

Nel doubled to right field leading off the sixth and, one out later, moved to third on Mike's single. John singled off the fence, scoring Nel. Then Jay flew out to left, and Mike, losing track of the outs, got doubled off second base.

Both teams went scoreless in the seventh, with Vince's single being DC's only baserunner.

In the eighth, Dan Bertoldi and Nel singled with one out, and Sal created a early season contender for play of the year. First, awesome because Sal lined a bullet down the right field line. Who's ever seen Sal hit to center field, much less right field? Second, awesome because Dan held up at third and Sal charged into second, and for one scary moment, Nel was standing next to NY's shortstop with no base to go to! Fortunately for the Bullets, the catcher had moved away from the plate to back-up the throw back to the infield and Dan ran home before anybody could get into position to cover, and Nel moved up to third base. Nel went home on Mike's infield single for the inning's second run, but consecutive groundouts by John and Jay stalled the rally.

Pat and Vince singled in the ninth, but neither reached home, sticking the Bullets with their first loss of the 2012 season and first ever (in only three games, admittedly) loss on Walker Field. There are some positives: DC scored in seven of nine innings, including crooked numbers in four of nine. NY scored in four of eight, and crooked numbers only twice. But man, that fourteen-run frame - that's a tough one of overcome! It was a great game against a fun team, and I know the entire Bullets squad is looking forward to the rematch.

Defensive highlights included rightfielder Pat Brosseau, in his last game as a single man (congrats, Pat!), stealing away a sure double with a leaping, twisting, reaching-behind-him snare of a laserbeam line drive to close out the bottom of the eighth, giving DC one more shot at tying things up. Shortstop Nel Yomtov pulled down an over-the-shoulder flare in shallow center field. Third baseman Mike Lorah scored two difficult plays: a charging scoop-and-throw of a trickling grounder, and a backhand stab of a scorcher down the line. The latter play wouldn't have resulted in an out, however, if first baseman Sal Cipriano hadn't dug out a very low throw, making it a nifty defensive moment on both ends of the infield. Credit to leftfielder Jay Kogan and centerfielder Vince Letterio for playing Walker Field's absurdly shallow fence very well, minimizing extra bases as much as possible.

The Bullets (4-1) meet WNYC on North Meadow #2 this Thursday (weather pending) in their first New York Media Softball League game of the 2012 season.

Bullet Box:
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-5, R, RBI, two doubles
3B Mike Lorah - 3-5, R, RBI
DH John Choi - 4-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, two home runs
LF Jay Kogan - 2-5, R, RBI, home run
RF Pat Brosseau - 2-5, R
C Allison Dugas-Behan - 0-5
CF Vince Letterio - 5-5, 3 R, RBI, two doubles
2B Joel Press - 3-5, R
P Larry Ganem - 1-4, R, 4 RBI, double, sac fly
2B/RF Dan Bertoldi - 2-4, R
SS Nel Yomtov - 3-4, 2 R, double, RBI

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