With Thursday's 13-6 loss to NBC Sports, the DC Bullets have lost three consecutive games. However, unlike the last two games where our own defensive lapses or impatient at-bats doomed the team, the NBC Sports squad provided steady offense (at least one run in every inning, but no more than three runs in any frame) and robbed DC of several hits with plus defensive plays. The score might've been tighter if a few line drives moved two feet to the left or right, but the team from 30 Rock simply outplayed the comic book makers. On this particular day, anyway...
After NBC grabbed an early lead - their fifth hitter blooped a two-out, two-run triple onto the right field line - DC hit four balls hard in the bottom of the first, but never moved a runner past second base. Vince Letterio led off with a line single to left, and moved to second on Andrew Arnold's hard grounder to shortstop. However, Nel Yomtov hit a bullet directly at the third baseman, and Mike Lorah followed suit, with a line drive directly to NBC's second baseman, our own Allison Klein, helping out the short-handed opposition.
NBC added two more in their half of the second. Sal Cipriano started off DC's second inning with a double, a line drive to left that skipped under the left fielder's glove (one of only two NBC misplays that I can recall). Christine Napolitano singled into shallow left, but Sal was unable to advance with the ball being directly behind third base. Neil Hiremath followed with a line drive toward the middle, but the lunging shortstop snared the ball. Sal and CNap moved up a base on Dan Bertoldi's slow ground ball out before Blake Kobashigawa grounded out to end the threat.
With three more run in the top of the third, NBC Sports opened up a seven run edge, but the Bullets finally got on the board in the bottom half - though smarter baserunning and a luckier bounce might've led to more. Allison Dugas-Behan legged out an infield single and moved to second when the pitcher's throw to first went wide and out of play. Andrew Marino, making his 2012 debut, crushed a drive to deep left center, scoring Allie easily. However, slightly over-exuberant Andrew was thrown out easily at third base for the first out. Danielle Yanneta (who played two innings for the opponents, but moved back to the DC side in the third when NBC's own late-arriving woman made the scene) grounded out, and Vince tattooed a hard grounder off the third baseman's shins, but NBC's man on the hot corner recovered in time to throw a bullet to first to retire Vince.
After holding NBC to one run in the fourth, DC briefly cut into their lead. Andrew Arnold doubled to deep left field. After Nel popped out, Mike ripped an RBI single through the middle and then came around to score on Sal's double into the left field corner. A pop-up by CNap and a groundout by Neil - featuring another strong throw by an NBC infielder to get the speedy Mr. Hiremath - ended the threat, however.
NBC added two in the fifth (the Bullets went meekly in order - a fly to left from Blake sandwiched between groundouts by Dan and Allie) and three in the sixth, and the game went to the last of the sixth, with time running out on the permit and DC down 13-3.
Andrew Marino crushed another drive toward left center, only this time NBC's centerfielder made a terrific diving catch to rob extra bases. Danielle and Vince followed with one-out singles, and Andrew Arnold capitalized, crushing a drive to deep left field for a three-run homer. Almost as impressive as Andrew's power was his fancy footwork, dancing around the tag to score the third run. However, it was to be the Bullets' last gasp, as Nel flew out to left and Mike was again robbed - NBC's centerfielder making another spectacular catch, this one a back-to-the-infield, over-the-shoulder showstopper to again steal extra bases from a Bullet hitter.
6-4 (2-2 NYMSL), the Bullets will attempt to right the ship (and perhaps gain a little revenge) against New York magazine next Thursday on North Meadow #2 in Central Park. New York handed DC their first loss of the summer back in early May, a 19-14 slugfest at Walker Park.
CF Vince Letterio - 2-3, R
LF Andrew Arnold - 2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, double, home run
SS Nel Yomtov - 0-3
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R, RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-2, RBI, two doubles
SCF Christine Napolitano - 1-2
P Neil Hiremath - 0-2
RF Dan Bertoldi - 0-2
2B/1B Blake Kobashigawa - 0-2
C Allison Dugas-Behan - 1-2, R
RF/2B Andrew Marino - 1-2, RBI, double
C Danielle Yannetta - 1-2, R
Also, thanks to Danielle and Allie K. for joining the NBC Sports' roster.
Danielle - 0-1
Allison Klein - 1-3, R