Friday, May 31, 2013

Can't Win for Losing

I don't usually use this space to loudly call out problems I see on the team, but one clear trend this season has been worrisome. Turnout at McGees has been pathetic. Absolutely awful. Thursday night, Andrew, Taylor, CNap and I were there - that's it. Four Bullets and Thursday night was a pretty good night compared to some other Thursdays this summer. This is shameful behavior. What would LP say?

I'm going to say it now: the team that drinks together, wins together. So think about your priorities.

As for the game, by New York Media Softball League rules, the DC Bullets scored a big triumph over WNYC Thursday night. With only eight players, and only one woman, WNYC could not field a full roster and DC took the win via forfeit. Of course, we all just want to have fun, so after the forfeit was agreed upon, we played anyway, with WNYC batting only eight and DC providing two fielders (whoever made the last two outs the previous half-inning) to occupy the catcher and right field spots.

The NYMSL standings may show the Bullets won on Thursday, but the play on North Meadow #2 told a different story, with WNYC's short-handed squad besting the comic book makers 7-4. WNYC smacked a few long fly balls that maybe could've been caught, but the humidity and sun certainly made tracking balls difficult. Third baseman Mike Lorah also misplayed a routine ball in the fifth that allowed a run to cross. But, for the most part, WNYC earned their runs (and with a short line-up, got their better hitters to the plate more often). DC, while facing probably the best slow-pitch pitcher they'll see all year (unbelievable stat: he struck out four batters in a slow-pitch game on Thursday!), struggled to put runners on and failed to capitalize when they did.

WNYC put DC back their heels immediately with a four-run first inning, and with manager Sal's vaunted top four batters all in attendance, the sad-sack 1-2-3 response from the Bullets in the bottom half wasn't a positive omen. Mike launched a towering fly to center for one out, before Andrew lined a bullet to third and Kevin smashed a bomb to deep left field where it was run down for the inning-ender.

Jay Kogan grounded a single through the left side to start the second, but only moved to second base on Neil Hiremath's one-out base hit. In between, Vince Letterio popped up, and after Neil's hit, Christine Napolitano and Sal Cipriano flew out.

WNYC tacked on a run in the top of the third, and Larry Ganem (pop-out), Laura Demoreuille (pop-out) and Brittany Holzherr (K) sat down in order. Both teams went scoreless in the fourth, with DC again failing to put a runner on base. Taylor Esposito swung through a third strike, Allison Klein grounded to shortstop, and Mike popped out to right field.

After watching WNYC score twice more in the fifth, the Bullets finally mustered some fight-back. With one out, Kevin and Jay singled, and Vince smashed a double to put the comic book makers on the board. Neil and CNap followed with RBI singles and a fourth run scored on an overthrow. Larry squeezed a single in between pop-ups from Sal and Laura, and DC cut the deficit to just three runs.

Alas, the score never changed over the final two frames. WNYC couldn't tack on, but Britt, Taylor and Alli went down sequentially in the sixth, and DC loaded the bases in the seventh - singles by Mike, Andrew and Vince, but all the runners were left stranded. Kevin punched out swinging, Jay smoked a bullet that was snared by the pitcher in a moment of pure self-defense, and Neil came up empty swinging at a third strike.

So the Bullets have a win in the New York Media Softball League standings. Except they still haven't actually beaten an NYMSL team, which may be a problem in the long run.

4-3 (1-2 NYMSL), DC and WNYC wrap up their regular season series on Monday, North Meadow #10, 6pm.

Bullet Box:
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3
SS Andrew Arnold - 1-3
OF/1B Kevin Schwoer - 1-3, R
LF Jay Kogan - 2-3, R
OF Vince Letterio - 2-3, R, RBI, double
OF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, R, RBI
SCF Christine Napolitano - 1-2, RBI
DH Sal Cipriano - 0-2
P Larry Ganem - 1-2
1B Laura Demoreuille - 0-2
2B/C Brittany Holzherr - 0-2
C Taylor Esposito - 0-2
2B Allison Klein - 0-2

Friday, May 17, 2013

Heartbreaker: Late WSJ Rally Stuns Bullets

Softball's a funny game. You play six frames and things are going your way, and then in one inning, the time it takes to collect three tiny, little outs, it all comes undone - a few balls are just out of a fielder's reach, a guy gets down the line a fraction of a second too quickly, and sweet victory turns into the ashiest defeat.

That's how Thursday night's New York Media Softball League game on North Meadow #2 between the DC Comics Bullets and Wall St. Journal went down for the comic book makers. For six innings, DC contained a short-handed, but still powerful WSJ offense, and for six innings the Bullets scrimped and scraped and tacked on runs to take a 7-3 lead into the final inning. One top of the seventh later, WSJ scored five time and left the stunned Bullets on the short end of an 8-7 loss.

Wall St. Journal's top-heavy line-up came out swinging in the first, scoring three times to put early pressure on the comic book makers, but DC answered back quickly in the bottom half. Neil Hiremath lined a single into left and Mike Lorah bounced a chopper back through the middle to put two runners on. Jay Kogan's base hit scored Neil and Kevin Schwoer added a fourth single to load the bases with no outs. Vince Letterio bounced into a fielder's choice, scoring Mike, but forcing Jay at third, and then Sal Cipriano and Christine Napolitano flew out to left field to stall the rally. But DC tallied a couple runs and kept themselves in the game.

DC's defense stifled the bottom of WSJ's line-up, taking them down 1-2-3 in the second and with only a single baserunner in the third. Alas, the bottom portion of DC's line-up was faring no better. In the second, Blake Kobashigawa's scorching line drive was snared by a diving WSJ shortshop. Larry Ganem popped out to third and Nel rolled over a grounder to wrap the inning. Taylor Esposito swung through strike three, and Brittany Holzherr and Neil grounded out in a quick third.

Fortunately, through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Larry Ganem's pitching kept the opposition off balance. Larry must've caught four pop-ups himself, and Blake made a terrific play to snare a groundball up the middle and throw a laser to first to get the out. Perhaps the defensive highlight of the fame came in the sixth, when shortstop Blake picked a grounder and flipped to Nel, who made the turn to Sal for a crisp 6-4-3 double play.

Bottom four, Mike broke a stretch of nine straight Bullet outs, smashing a home run into right center, tying the game at three apiece. Jay singled and came all the way around to score the go-ahead run as Kevin clubbed a double to left. Kevin alertly took third on the throw home and scored an insurance run on Vince's sacrifice fly. Sal went down swinging at a high pitch after questioning an earlier strike call in the at-bat. After CNap lined a base hit over third base, Blake popped up on the infield for the final out.

The fifth went quiet and quick, with Larry lining out to third, Nel popping up and Taylor grounding to shortstop, but DC managed to extend their lead in the sixth. After Allison flew out to center (and if there was one thing about this nail-biter of a game that I personally thought could've been more fair, it was WSJ's outfielders creeping within ten feet of the infield dirt when DC's women batted - both Alli's sixth inning flare and CNap's seventh inning line drive might've dropped if the outfield acknowledged the league's 25-feet-off-the-dirt rule. WSJ got a huge key hit in the seventh because Kevin stayed back - but there were plenty of other opportunities for DC to win the game.), Neil singled and went to third on Mike's base hit to right, with Mike taking second on the throw to third. Jay launched a deep sacrifice fly and Kevin drove Mike home, lasering a base hit through the left side. However, Vince flew out to left and the comic book makers went to the seventh leading 7-3.

Top seven. I don't usually remember an entire inning from the other team, but this one I do. WSJ's #2 hitter singled and then a hard double to right center put two runners aboard. The clean-up hitter, a lefty, reached on an unbelievable infield single. With Blake playing up the middle and Mike back to defend most of the left side of the infield, the hitter flared a weak pop-up over the pitcher's mound where it fell just beyond the reach of Larry, Blake and Mike for an infield single. The runners had to hold, but the bases were loaded with nobody out and the tying run was at the plate. Two more singles plated three runs, putting the tying run at second base and go-ahead on first. DC finally got the first out on a fly ball to left. The next hitter smashed a long fly to right field. CNap, going back, leaped and the ball skipped off the top of her glove. The tying run scored, but a quick relay from Nel allowed Larry to tag the trail runner out at the plate. Two outs, tie game, the go-ahead run on second, and one of WSJ's women who hadn't hit a ball out of the infield coming to the plate. Except this time she did, flaring a ball over third base just onto the outfield grass, and the runner move up from second to third. Another lefty hitter for WSJ, this one trickled a ball out in front of the plate to the left side. Larry was off the mound quickly and got the ball, but coming out of the left-handed batter's box, the hitter had one extra step toward first and hustled out the infield hit. The leading run crossed the plate. Larry got the next hitter to pop out to Mike at third, but the damage was done and the Bullets, sadly, mustered little pressure in the last of the seventh.

Sal flew out to left and CNap lined to (very) shallow left. Blake punched a single through the right side to put the tying run on base, and Larry tried to follow his lead - but WSJ's first baseman picked the ball and shoveled to the pitcher to nip Larry by a half-step for the game-ender.

It was a thriller, a nail-biter, and a helluva fun game (thanks, WSJ). Also, a heartbreaker. The biggest difference in the game: the bottom of Wall St. Journal's line-up was able to string together a few baserunners and DC couldn't do the same. But the Bullets will bounce back, starting next Thursday on the Great Lawn when they face Forbes at 7pm.

3-3 (0-2 NYMSL), the Bullets have an unusual home game on Great Lawn next week, as the Parks Department performs maintenance on North Meadow. Don't get lost, we'll see you there.

Bullet Box:
RCF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, 2 R
3B Mike Lorah - 3-3, 3 R, RBI, home run
LCF Jay Kogan - 2-2, R, 2 RBI, sac fly
LF Kevin Schwoer - 3-3, R, 2 RBI, double
OF Vince Letterio - 0-2, 2 RBI, sac fly
1B Sal Cipriano - 0-3
RF Christine Napolitano - 1-3
SS Blake Kobashigawa - 1-3
P Larry Ganem - 0-3
2B Nel Yomtov - 0-2
DH Taylor Esposito - 0-2
C Brittany Holzherr - 0-1 / C Allison Klein - 0-1

Monday, May 13, 2013

Game 5 Player Ratings

CF Neil Hiremath - 1-3, R
The I-I defense got the best of the speedy Bullet on this night. R: 6

3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, 3 R
Pushed down to the 2 spot, Mr. Lorah acquitted himself well at the plate, but like many Bullets had a bit of tough time on field.  R: 6.5

SS Andrew Arnold - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, double
Like Mike's rating above, it was a tale of two players, though the double play could've been outstanding... R: 6.5

LF Kevin Schwoer - 2-3, R, RBI
Solid for the most part, Schwoer suffered from what the rest of the outfield did, just not being in the right spot, but honestly not much you can do. R: 7.5

CF Vince Letterio - 3-3, 3 RBI
Same as Kevin's, with the added misread of the players on the basepaths on a costly play. Great day at the plate, though.  R: 6.5

1B Sal Cipriano - 3-3, RBI, double
Good day at the plate, but a lost pop in the sun hurts the rating.  R: 8.5

RF Allison Klein - 0-3
Playing out of position wasn't the best for Alli.  R: 4

3B Blake Kobashigawa - 3-3
Solid for the most part on the field and at the plate.  R: 8.5

P Larry Ganem - 1-3
I-I had a field day with Larry's pitches. R: 5

C David Pina - 0-3
Not much going on for the speedy catcher. R: 4

C Taylor Esposito - 0-2
And even less for his counterpart. R: 3.5

2B Brittany Holzherr - 1-2
Tough day on the field for the rookie 2B. R: 5

Friday, May 3, 2013

There's a New Sheriff in Town: Bullets Blown Out by Institutional Investor

As we start play in the seventh season of the New York Media Softball League, the league roster has expanded to include a seventh team. Institutional Investor made their NYMSL debut Thursday night on North Meadow #2 (although the game was played on DC's field, II, without field permits of their own, served as the home team) and they served notice to the NYMSL - there's a new heavy in town - as they whomped on the Bullets, winning 22-7.

Now, DC was short a few bats: Jay Kogan, Joel Press and super-soldier Nel Yomtov were among the missing. The defense could've, at times, been tighter, although the Bullets didn't allow many extra runs until after they already faced a ten-run deficit. Ultimately, however, II's hitters can mash and DC's going to have to step it up next time out.

As the visiting team, DC missed a chance to make an early statement in the first. After Neil Hiremath's single, Mike Lorah grounded into a fielder's choice and Andrew Arnold flew out to center. Back-to-back line singles from Kevin Schwoer and Vince Letterio drove Mike home, and Sal Cipriano loaded the bases with a rope into left field, but Allison Klein popped up to leave three runners stranded. Institutional Investor seized the momentum, plating three runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Blake Kobashigawa singled to left and Larry Ganem punched a base hit over second base to put two runners aboard in the second. However, David Pina hit into a fielder's choice for one out, and Taylor Esposito rolled into a 6-3 double play. Highlighted by a couple long home runs, II scored eight runs in the bottom of the frame, taking a commanding 11-1 lead.

To their credit, DC started to immediately chip away in the third. After Brittany Holzherr and Neil were retired, the comic book makers put together a nice two-out rally. Mike lined a single to left and Andrew banged a double into the gap in left center. Kevin's base hit drove home a run, and successive singles from Vince and Sal scored two more before Alli flew out to right.

DC held II scoreless in the third, but came away empty themselves in the fourth. After Blake grounded a single through the left side, two fielder's choices and a fly ball to left stalled any momentum, and Institutional Investor went back on the attack in the last of the fourth, scoring six more runs and pushing their edge to 17-4. The defensive highlight of the inning, undoubtedly, was Andrew fielding a groundball at shortstop, stepping on second, spinning around and throwing to first. If there had been a runner on first to force, or if the throw to first had been on line, the play would've been spectacular! But you've gotta give style points for displaying that much athleticism without netting a single out!

Britt led off the fifth with a base hit, and after Neil's fielder's choice, Mike and Andrew collected base hits to push across another run for DC. Kevin flew out to center, but Vince came up with a big two-out single - and not only did Mike score easily from second, but Andrew never stopped running and sprinted all the way around from first to score. Sal ripped a double down the left field line, but Alli's groundout left two more runnners on base. In the last of the fifth, perhaps deflated or just feeling silly from the game's outcome, the Bullet defense faltered (giving up extra bases on overthrows more often than failing to get outs), helping II score five final runs.

With time running out on the permit, Blake led off the sixth with his third lead-off single of the game. Larry bounced out to shortstop, and Blake, trying to catch the first baseman napping, was gunned down going to third. David chopped back to the pitcher and that was all she wrote.

3-2 (0-1 NYMSL), the Bullets continue their New York Media Softball League gauntlet next Thursday on North Meadow #2 against High Times.

Bullet Box:
CF Neil Hiremath - 1-3, R
3B Mike Lorah - 2-3, 3 R
SS Andrew Arnold - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, double
LF Kevin Schwoer - 2-3, R, RBI
CF Vince Letterio - 3-3, 3 RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-3, RBI, double
RF Allison Klein - 0-3
3B Blake Kobashigawa - 3-3
P Larry Ganem - 1-3
C David Pina - 0-3
C Taylor Esposito - 0-2
2B Brittany Holzherr - 1-2

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 NYMSL Full Schedule

For those that are interested, here's the NYMSL's full schedule.

May 2

DC @ I-I (NM #2, 5:30 pm)

May 9


May 11


May 13

WSJ @ HT (HK #2, 7 pm)

May 16

NB @ I-I (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

May 18


May 23


May 30


June 3


June 6


June 7

NYC @ HT (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

June 10


June 13

I-I @ DC

June 14

HT @ I-I (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

June 17


June 20


June 21

NWB @ I-I (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

June 22


June 24


June 27

I-I @ FB

June 28

DC @ HT (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

June 29


July 1

FB @ HT (HK #2, 7 pm)

July 11


July 13


July 19

I-I @ HT (GL #3, 5:30 pm)

July 22


July 25


July 29

NYC @ I-I (NM #10, 6 pm)

Aug 1


Aug 5


Aug 10


Aug 15

FB @ I-I (RP #6, 7 pm)

Aug 17

WSJ @ I-I  (NM #7, 11 am)

Aug 19

NDB @ HT (HK #2, 7 pm)

Aug 22



DC Comics (DC): North Meadow/Central Park #2 (Westside @ 97 St), Thurs, 5:30 pm
Forbes  (FB): Riverside Park #6 (103 St & Riverside Dr), Thurs, 7 pm
High Times (HT): Heckscher Playground/Central Park #2 (SE corner @ 63 St); Mon, 7 pm; Great Lawn/Central Park #3 (Westside), Fri, 5:30 pm
Newsweek Daily Beast (NDB): Riverside Park #6 (103 St & Riverside Dr), Thurs, 7 pm
Wall Street Journal (WSJ): North Meadow/Central Park #2 (Westside @ 97 St), Sat, 11 am
WNYC (NYC): North Meadow/Central Park #10 (Eastside @ 100 St), Mon, 6 pm
Institutional Investor (I-I): shares field with the other teams

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