The annual (not-so-serious) grudgematch between DC Comics and Marvel Comics’ softball teams occurred Thursday evening on North Meadow #2 in Central Park. Both teams came out of the gate with a ferocious offensive attack, but Larry Ganem and DC’s defense finally gained Marvel’s measure in the fourth inning (it may have helped that Marvel started subbing in some of their less potent hitters by the fifth) while DC’s all-in line-up (no man left out, no substitutions) continued to push across runs en route to a dominating 23-9 win for DC.
The only small disagreement came before either team took the field – the captains couldn’t agree on how they wanted to arrange their line-ups for the game, so each team kept their own standard. Marvel played a traditional 11-person line-up, starting their stars and then substituting in other players later in the game. This configuration got the top of the line-up to the plate more often, which concerned Bullet captain Sal Cipriano. DC’s line-up went 15 people deep, with everyone batting and various players rotating in and out of the defense – the top of the order wouldn’t, theoretically, bat as often.
It turned out not to matter.
Marvel started the game with a bang, hammering home four runs in the first, reminding the Bullets of their potency and ensuring DC would take nothing for granted. The Bullets responded with a five-run, lead-taking outburst, including three runs with two outs. Mike Lorah led off the bottom of the first by smoking a triple to right center field, and he then sprinted home on Andrew Arnold’s groundout to short. Kevin Schwoer crushed a solo home run to center to cut Marvel’s lead in half. After Jay Kogan drew a walk, Vince Letterio’s screaming line drive was pulled down by Marvel very tall, and talented, third baseman. Neil Hiremath singled and Christine Napolitano walked to load the bases with two down, and Sal Cipriano punched home one run with a base hit to left. Blake Kobashigawa ended the scoring with a two-run flare single into shallow right, putting DC up 5-4 after one explosive inning.
Then both teams huddled under umbrellas and DC’s handy tarp-across-the-dugout during a ten-minute downpour that delayed the game. The remainder of the evening would be marked by light drizzle and a ten-pound, sopping wet softball that was hard to throw and harder to crush.
After the game resumed, Marvel, undaunted, plated three more runs in the second, retaking the lead. Responding with six runs of their own, DC seized the lead and never trailed again. Joel Press and Andrew (2) Marino singled. Taylor Esposito’s fielder’s choice (removing Andrew 2) and Brittany Holzherr’s walk loaded the bases. Fashionista David Pina, rocking his Flash underoos outside his pants, and Mike each drove him one run with base hits. Andrew drove home two more runs with another single, and Kevin’s double scored another Bullet run. Jay walked to reload the bases and Vince picked up a sacrifice fly to shallow left field – with Andrew alertly tagging and racing home when the left fielder had to slide to make the catch. After Neil walked, CNap bounced into a fielder’s choice to cap the scoring.
Marvel doggedly battled back again, plating two more runs in the third, making it a tight 11-9 game. DC put together a back-breaking rally in the bottom half, and did it all with two outs. Sal lined to third and Blake popped up to first. And then: singles by Larry and Joel, RBI double from Andrew 2, RBI singles from Taylor and Britt, and a bases-loading single from David. Then, despite Marvel’s strong offensive showing in the first three innings, Mike ended most of the game’s drama, depositing a looping drive down the right field line that went for a grand slam homer. Andrew nearly made it back-to-back blasts with a bomb into left center, but Marvel’s left fielder managed to run the drive down for the inning-ender. Still, the seven-run, two-out showing put DC up 18-9 after three innings.
From there, things quieted down. Marvel didn’t score again, despite a few threats. Kevin ran down a long, long fly ball somewhere around 120th St. in the fifth, while Vince showed some impressive range in center and Blake ranged far up the middle to snare a grounder, to help Larry work through four frames of goose eggs.
For DC, in the fourth, Jay smoked a one-out double and later scored on Neil’s line drive single to center. Moved into scoring position by CNap’s second base on balls, Neil scored easily on Sal’s second RBI hit of the afternoon. Joel and Taylor each reached on base hits in the fifth, and then scored on RBI knocks from Britt and David. In the sixth, Kevin singled, took second on a groundout, and scored on Vince’s liner into left.
9-6 (3-5 NYMSL), the DC Bullets have put up successive 20+ run outbursts. Can they keep the offense going against one of the New York Media Softball League’s best hurlers? Find out next Monday, as the Bullets battle WNYC on North Meadow #10. They need a few wins to climb back into the NYMSL playoff picture.
3B Mike Lorah – 3-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, triple, home run
SS Andrew Arnold – 1-4, R, 3 RBI
LF Kevin Schwoer – 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, double, home run
OF Jay Kogan – 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, double
CF Vince Letterio – 1-3, 2 RBI, sac fly
CF Neil Hiremath – 2-2, 2 R, RBI, BB
SCF Christine Napolitano – 0-1, R, 2 BB
1B Sal Cipriano – 2-3, 2 RBI
3B/SS Blake Kobashigawa – 1-3, 2 RBI
P Larry Ganem – 1-3, R
RF Joel Press – 3-3, 3 R
C Andrew Marino – 2-3, R, RBI, double
C Taylor Esposito – 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI
2B Brittany Holzherr – 2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
C David Pina – 3-3, 3 R, 2 RBI
Bullet of the Game: Mike Lorah