That's what they call a nailbiter. At the end of five innings, the DC Bullets nursed a 2-0 lead over Vanity Fair on North Meadow #10 on Tuesday evening, and clung to a 3-2 lead after six, before plating five runs in the seventh to finalize an 8-2 win.
From the start, Vanity Fair made it clear that runs would be hard to come by. DC's first three hitters went down in order to start the game - Neil Hiremath popping up and both Pat Brohsoh and Mike Lorah grounding to shortstop. Andrew Arnold swallowed some infield dirt on a head-first dive into second base, leading off the second with a double, and Nel Yomtov followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners. After Allison Klein popped up, Sal Cipriano punched a single through the left side, plating Andrew with the game's first run. Dan Bertoldi's fielder's choice erased Sal, but moved Nel to third where he was in position to trot home on Andrew Marino's clutch two-out single.
The early runs didn't lead to much comfort at the plate for DC, however. During the third through fifth innings, the Bullets managed only one baserunner - Pat's one-out single in the third. Every other DC hitter made an out during the second turn through the order. Fortunately, with Pat's pitching and DC's defense having a big game, those two second inning runs were holding up through the end of the fifth. Nel, reminding us of his ageless Super-Soldier training, gobbled up everything anywhere near him, turning screaming line drives, short-hop spinners and anything else into an out. With a runner on first and one down in the fifth, Nel ranged far to his left, knocking down a bouncer over the second base bag and then shoveling the ball back to Allison for the force out. Vanity Fair's other biggest chance came in the fourth, a runner on third with one out: Mike fielded a hard groundball near the line, looked the runner back and fired a bullet to first to set up a routine two-out groundball chance for Nel to keep VF scoreless.
The comic book makers finally tacked on an insurance run in the sixth. Pat picked up a one-out single and Mike drove an outside pitch into the rightcenter field gap for a double. Vanity Fair's shortstop then dropped Andrew's easy pop-up, and Pat sprinted home, beating the recovery and throw by a step. Nel ripped a line drive right at the third baseman and Allison grounded out, stalling the rally, but even a single run was huge as VF's first two batters in the last of the sixth reached on a single and a double. Both eventually scored, but Andrew Marino ran down the second out in rightcenter field and Pat, with the tying run on third base, induced an easy comebacker to the mound to close out the threat.
DC ended much of the drama in the seventh with a five-run outburst. Sal's double into right center set up Andrew 2 for a one-out RBI laser through the middle. With his sixth inning catch and two-out second inning RBI, Andrew had a very big game. Danielle Yannetta legged out an infield roller and Neil picked up his first hit to load the bases for Pat. And Pat, being Pat, delivered a Pat Special, a soft liner down the right field line. Andrew 2, Danielle and Neil all scored easily, but a terrific relay throw cut down Pat at third base for the second out. Mike then clobbered a fly ball over the centerfielder and raced around to third base - and as he cruised into third, the centerfielder's throw ricocheted off his lower back and went out of play, allowing Mike to score the Bullets' final run. Andrew added another single, his third hit of the evening, before VF closed out the seventh. Pat put the finishing touches on a strong pitching performance with a three up, three down last of the seventh, getting the last out on bouncer back to the mound.
11-5 (2-3 NYMSL), the Bullets face the High Times Bonghitters, currently undefeated in NYSML action and sitting atop the league's playoff bracket, for two games in the next four days starting Thursday evening on North Meadow #2.
CF Neil Hiremath - 1-4, R
P Pat Brosseau - 3-4, R, 3 RBI, double
3B Mike Lorah - 2-4, R, double, triple
LF Andrew Arnold - 3-4, R, double
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-4, R
2B Allison Klein - 0-3
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-3, R, RBI, double
RF Dan Bertoldi - 0-3
SCF Andrew Marino - 2-3, R, 2 RBI
C Danielle Yannetta - 1-3, R