Anybody who has observed the New York Media Softball League since its inception, particularly since the dissolution of the slugging BusinessWeek team, knows that Wall St. Journal and the High Times Bonghitters have been the league's premier teams. The DC Bullets have played some epics games against both squads and have occasionally come out on top in those contests. But sprinkled throughout those competitive games, you'll find those "DC wants it too much and psyches themselves out" affairs. Thursday night on North Meadow #2, it was one of the latter games.
By a final score of 16-3 (the NYMSL site has 17-3, but really, what one run more or less at this stage?), the Bonghitters shellacked the Bullets, dropping DC to 2-4 in league standings. In a game plagued by missed cut-off men, overthrows and just plain missed balls, DC couldn't seem to do much right in the field. Even if they had, with the offense sputtering, the outcome wasn't in much question, although the final score could've been a lot closer. I mean, High Times might've scored less than ten runs anyway...
From the top of the first, the Bonghitters seemed to deflate the Bullets and put pressure on them, both defensively and offensively. A four-run opening frame put DC back on their heels, and the comic book makers did little to retake the momentum in the bottom half of the inning: Neil Hiremath grounded to shortstop and Pat Broso popped out on the infield. Mike Lorah lifted a routine fly ball to right center, which was dropped, giving Mike a gift double, but Andrew Arnold popped up for the final out.
Both teams were scoreless in the second, as SuperSoldier Nel Yomtov, Christine Napolitano and Joel Press went down in order, and after a five run third for the Bonghitters, DC went down meekly again - Sal Cipriano, Dan Bertoldi and Andrew Marino all failing to reach base. Note on the hitting: High Times pitcher threw a little faster than DC's used to and threw high in the strike zone, so most Bullet hitters were underneath the ball. Nine Bullets were retired on infield pop-ups during the game. (Swing for the top half of the ball next time.)
High Times added one in the fourth, but DC finally broke through in the bottom half. Allison Dugas-Behan rolled a trickling ground ball into no man's land between third base and the pitcher's mound and beat it out for an infield single. After Neil flew out to left, Pat bounced a single through the middle and Mike, jammed on a handle shot, dropped a bloop single behind the first base bag. The Bonghitters' firstbaseman made a good effort, got a glove on it, but couldn't corral the flare. Andrew then punched a two-run single to left, but consecutive groundouts from John and Nel halted the rally.
If any drama remained in the game's outcome, High Times iced that with a six-run fifth. Laura Demoreuille and Joel Press lined singles to left to start the bottom of the inning, but Sal popped up to short, Dan bounced into a fielder's choice and Andrew 2 popped out to end that scoring chance.
High Times didn't score in the sixth or seventh. Nor did DC in the sixth - after Danielle grounded out, Neil lined a single to left and Pat flew out to deep left center. Mike lined a single over the second baseman, sending Neil to third, but Andrew grounded to short to close the sixth. In the last of the seventh, John ripped a ground single through the left side. Nel flew out to left, CNap lined a base hit over third base and Joel popped up to short. With two down, the captain refused to let the Bullets go too quietly - Sal lined a single to right center, scoring John (actually pinch-runner Andrew), but Dan bounced back to the mound for the game's final out.
11-6 (2-4 NYMSL), the Bullets rematch against High Times next Monday on Hecksher #2 in Central Park. Everybody, breathe this time.
CF Neil Hiremath - 1-3
RF Pat Brosseau - 1-3, R
3B Mike Lorah - 3-3, double
LF Andrew Arnold - 1-3, 2 RBI
2B John Choi - 2-3, R
SS Nel Yomtov - 0-3
SCF Christine Napolitano - 1-2 / 1B Laura Demoreuille - 1-1
P Joel Press - 1-3
1B/SCF Sal Cipriano - 1-3, RBI
RF/C Dan Bertoldi - 0-3
C Andrew Marino - 0-2
C Allison Dugas-Behan - 1-1, R / C Danielle Yannetta - 0-1