Well, that was a frustrating game.
North Meadow #10 has never been kind to the DC Bullets, and WNYC always plays everybody tough. So maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise that neither team mustered much offense. With each team eking out only a baserunner per inning, the game went very quickly (a good thing, I suppose, since the 6:00 scheduled time turned into a 6:40 first pitch and the game went two extra innings before a decisive run could score). In the end, the comic book makers rapped out only thirteen hits, spread across nine frames of softball, and WNYC managed just a few more, walking off (literally) with a big 4-3 win in New York Media Softball League action Monday evening.
Both teams trades zeros in the first, with their clean-up hitters grounding out with a runner aboard - Nel Yomtov, who'd singled with two outs in DC's case. The Bullets looked like they were going to break through in a big way in the second, as Kevin Schwoer, Sal Cipriano and Christine Napolitano all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Andrew Arnold followed with a line drive down the left field line, scoring Kevin easily. Sal pulled up at third, but then took off for home when the left fielder momentarily bobbled the ball. The throw home, somehow, bizarrely, ricocheted off Sal's head, directly to pitcher - who covered the plate - and Sal was tagged for the first out. Pop-ups by Vince Letterio and Larry Ganem stalled the rally, limiting DC to one run. WNYC responded in kind, tallying a single run and knotting the score.
The third inning went quietly. Another two-out single, this one by Dan Bertoldi, kept DC from putting any pressure on the opposition. One out into the fourth inning, Mike Lorah lined a single into center field, and then Kevin - who seems to have sewn up the rookie of the year ballot only a third of the way into the season and is eyeing the team MVP award - clubbed a line drive over the right fielder for a two-run home run. But then Sal lined out to the short fielder and CNap popped out, as the Bullets stalled again.
Larry slapped a two-out single to right in the fifth, and Neil beat out a five-foot roller with one away in the sixth, but DC couldn't capitalize. Making his 2012 season debut, Jeff "Hard Luck" Boison, following Neil's hit, drilled a scorcher right back at WNYC's pitcher, who somehow speared the ball and then doubled Neil off first. Nice play, much credit there. But for the most part, the Bullets made it easy, with routine pop flies galore.
WNYC rallied for two runs in the last of the sixth to tie the score. With out across and two outs, Neil Hiremath got his glove on a slicing liner in shallow center field, but couldn't hang onto the ball. The tying run scored easily, but the go-ahread run - attempting to come all the way around from first base - was gunned down at the plate by Neil, giving the Bullets a chance to retake the lead in the seventh.
Alas, with the heart of the order up, the comic book makers had their worst offensive inning of the evening, as Nel and Mike popped up to first and Kevin flew out to left. WNYC's scoreless turn in the bottom half took the game to extra innings. With two outs already registered, again, Andrew lined a base hit to left in the eighth. Nothing came of it. Larry led off the ninth with a single, only the second time DC put their leadoff hitter on base in an inning. After pop-ups by Joel Press and Laura Demoruielle, Dan flared a single to left, pushing the go-ahead run into scoring position. Jeff, however, continued his hard luck ways, driving a pitch to deep center where it was run down for the final out.
Last of the ninth, WNYC first hitter rolled what appeared to be a routine ground ball to third, but Mike couldn't stay with the bad hop (off the chest, juggled momentarily, but ultimately fumbled), putting the winning run on first base. A line drive single to center moved the potential run to second base. The final batter of the game smacked a grounder to Nel's backhand side, where our shortstop was able to knock the ball down, but unable to come up cleanly with it. With Mike on the outfield side of the third base bag and the baserunner bearing down, Nel's shovel pass crossed behind the runner to the inside of the bag, where Mike couldn't reach it. The ball trickled into the WNYC dugout, allowing the runner to walk home with the win for WNYC.
The frustrating loss drops the Bullets to 6-3 (2-2 NYMSL). The next game is Thursday on North Meadow #2 against NBC Sports.
CF Neil Hiremath - 1-2 / RF Dan Bertoldi - 2-2
2B Blake Kobashigawa - 0-1 / RF/2B Jeff Boison - 0-3
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-3
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R
LF Kevin Schwoer - 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, home run
DH/1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3
SCF Christine Napolitano - 1-3
LF Andrew Arnold - 2-3, RBI
CF/RF Vince Letterio - 0-3
C Larry Ganem - 2-3
P Joel Press - 0-3
1B/2B Laura Demoruielle - 0-3