Friday, July 12, 2013

Bullets Overpower The Nation in (Brief) Slugfest

For Thursday night's softball games on North Meadow #2 against the DC Bullets, The Nation was late and short-handed. Consequently, the game lasted only four and a half innings before the 7pm field permit expired, and two Bullets - former intern/temp Andrew (2) Marino, making his 2013 season debut, and letterer/rookie Taylor Esposito - gamely accepted a temporary trade to the opposition. Even with two of their own in the enemy camp providing scouting reports, DC powered through to an 11-9 win.

Leading off with Andrew and then Taylor, The Nation struck for three early runs in the top of the first inning, but the middle of DC's order put the team on their shoulders and struck back harder to seize the lead. After a Christine Napolitano single and Neil Hiremath's fly out, Vince Letterio, Mike Lorah and Jay Kogan clubbed back-to-back-to-back triples to left field to tie the game. Captain Sal "Ichiro" Cipriano plated Jay for the lead with a wickedly spinning infield single, the first of three infield hits on the day for Sal. After Brittany Holzherr's fielder's choice, Joel Press rapped a double down the line and consecutive base hits from David "Impulse" (replacing his former "Kid Flash" nickname) Pina and CNap padded DC's advantage. Neil popped up, giving him the fairly rare distinction of making two outs in the same inning.

After Joel shut down The Nation in the second, DC tacked on a run in the bottom of the frame. Having allowed three pull-side triples in the first, The Nation shifted their entire outfield (both teams played three-man outfields) far around to the left, looking to close the gaps. After Vince flew out to left, Mike, showing no rust from his recent paternity leave, poked a looping flare down the right field line for an easy home run. Afterwards, Jay flew out, Sal outran a roller down the third base line, and Britt bounced into another's fielder's choice.

The Nation plated two more runs in the third, closing to within two runs. Leading just 7-5, Joel responded by lining a base hit to left and when David slapped a single to center, Joel charged hard around to third base. The center fielder's throw went wide of third and behind the Bullet dugout, allowing Joel to score and David, already advancing to second on the throw, to move up to third on the error. However, living up to his Impulse nickname, David sprinted off third and was nearly halfway home when CNap's line drive raced directly into The Nation third baseman's glove, and David was easily doubled off. With two down, the top of the DC line-up came through again. Neil, still the senior Flash on this team, slapped a hit to center and hustled it into a double. Vince followed with an RBI single and Mike flared a triple down the still nearly vacant right field line (but credit Andrew 2 for getting the ball as quickly as possible and getting it back to the infield to hold Mike at third). Jay bounced to shortstop, but the three-run inning pushed DC's lead to five runs. They'd need them all.

The Nation scored twice in the fourth and brought their biggest basher to the plate with one on and nobody out, and he promptly crushed a long home run over the fence in left field, cutting the comic book makers' lead to just one run. Fortunately, Joel and DC's defense (big nods to Vince, Jay and Neil for covering all that outfield ground, and to Britt for stepping in a shortstop and doing a terrific job) rose to the occasion, stifling The Nation's next few hitters to hold their slight edge.

Bottom four: After Sal and Britt singled, and Joel popped up, David connected for an RBI base hit. CNap added a single, loading the bases, but Neil popped up on the infield and Vince grounded an unassisted fielder's choice to the second baseman to wrap DC's offensive afternoon. With time on the permit dwindling, Joel made short work of The Nation in the top of the fifth, working his first one-two-three frame and securing DC's 11-9 victory.

6-5 (3-4 NYMSL), the Bullets meet the Paris Review next Thursday on North Meadow #2 at 5:30.

Bullet Box:
2B Christine Napolitano - 3-4, R, RBI
RF Neil Hiremath - 1-4, R, double
LF Vince Letterio - 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, triple
3B Mike Lorah - 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 triples, home run
CF Jay Kogan - 1-3, R, RBI, triple
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-3, R, RBI
SS Brittany Holzherr - 1-3, R
P Joel Press - 2-3, 2 R, double
C David Pina - 3-3, 2 RBI

For The Nation:
RF Andrew 2 Marino - 1-4
C Taylor Esposito - 2-4, 2 R

DC Player of the Game: Mike Lorah

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