Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bullets Rolling: DC Tops The Economist

The DC Bullets are coming together. The bats are heating up with the weather, the defense is playing smooth and confident, and the wins are following. Monday night, the Bullets won their fourth in a row, topping The Economist 16-3 on North Meadow #10.

The Bullets scored - in unusual fashion - consistently throughout the game. Three runs each in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings, and four in the second, before they relaxed somewhat and eased through the sixth and seventh innings.

First: Pat Brosseau tripled to right and scored on Mike Lorah's base hit. John Choi roped a double to the left field gap, scoring Mike, and after Jay Kogan's fly out, Vince Letterio drove John home with a base hit to left.

In the second, singles by Nel Yomtov, Brian Walters and Sal Cipriano loaded the bases. B&N.com's Emily Winter, helping the team out and playing a terrific second base, drove in a run with a groundout before Pat cleared the deck with a two-run double. Pat took third on the throw home and scored in Mike's grounder back to the mound.

After The Economist broke through against Joel Press in the third with a run, Jay and Vince led off the bottom half with singles. They were nearly stranded when Joel lined to shortstop and Allison Dugas struck out, but Nel drilled a double down the line, scoring Jay, and then Brian brought Vince and Nel home with a line drive to right.

In response to giving up a run, Joel threw the ultimate shutdown fourth inning. Three pitches, three outs, including a leaping spear by Mike at third base. DC nearly matched the feat. Emily flew out to shallow left and Pat popped up, but Mike lined a single to left, John did the same, and Jay cashed in both runners with an opposite-field triple. Vince picked up an RBI with another single, his third of the game.

After a two-run top of the fifth, DC capped the scoring with three more during their turn at the plate. Nel, Brian, Sal and Emily singled to start the inning, and after Pat's fly to shallow right, Mike blooped a base hit to right field. John added a sacrifice fly as well.

For DC in the sixth, Nel and Brian picked up two-out singles, but were left stranded, and after both teams agreed to play an extra inning, DC managed two-out singles by Mike and John in the seventh.

A big hand to Emily for coming out and being our second female. You're welcome back any time. Thanks also to The Economist; we hope you enjoyed the game! And kudos to the Bullet defense - with only eleven players, every outfielder and all three guys on the infield spent an inning on the bench, and the defense made all the expected plays no matter who manned each position. A couple scoops from Sal, rock-solid defense in the middle from Nel and Emily, and good range and smart throws from the entire outfield prevented The Economist from ever getting any momentum on their side. Well done, team!

8-5 (2-1 NYMSL), the Bullets have another big New York Media Softball League game this Thursday, as they meet Daily Beast/Newsweek at Riverside Park at 7pm.

Bullets Box:

RF Pat Brosseau - 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, double, triple
3B Mike Lorah - 4-5, 2 R, 3 RBI
LF John Choi - 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, double, sac fly
RCF Jay Kogan - 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, triple
LCF Vince Letterio - 3-4, R, 2 RBI
P Joel Press - 1-4
C Allison Dugas - 0-4
SS Nel Yomtov - 4-4, 3 R, RBI, double
UT Brian Walters - 4-4, 2 R, 2 RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-4, 2 R
2B Emily Winter - 1-4, 2 RBI

Friday, June 24, 2011

DC Bullets Score Late to Win NYMSL Match-up with Forbes

Forbes came into Thursday evening's game undefeated in their first season in the New York Media Softball League. Okay, sure, they were 1-0 and it's a small sample, but they hadn't lost. After sluggish starts by both offenses and a back-and-forth affair late, the Bullets triumphed 9-8.

DC grabbed a quick first-inning lead, as Neil Hiremath singled and went to third on Mike Lorah's base hit to right. Pat Brosseau's fielder's choice scored Neil. After Jay Kogan's fly out to left, John Choi singled, but Joel Press grounded into a fielder's choice to end the frame. The Bullets then went in order in the second (including Allison Dugas being robbed when the short left fielder threw her out at first) and mustered only Brian Walters' leadoff single in the third.

Fortunately, Larry Ganem and the Bullet defense kept Forbes off the board entirely, and DC clung to a tight 1-0 lead after three innings. The comic book makers tacked on a run in the fourth, when Mike crushed a double to right center, moved to third on Pat's groundout and scored on Jay's sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, the top of Forbes' line-up found their rhythm the second time through against Larry - Forbes tallied five fourth-inning runs, capped by a home run over the towering right field wall on the Riverside Park field.

The Bullets persevered - "If they can score five, so can we." Actually, for a moment, it almost didn't happen. Lalida Musso, playing her first game for the East Coast branch, singled and moved to second on an overthrow. Being unfamiliar with the league rules, she led away from second base on the first pitch to LP Vollano - and the umpire called her out! After some arguing, consultation with Commissioner Steve Bloom and Forbes' good sportsmanship, Lalida got away with a warning and remained on second. LP grounded back to the pitcher, who pivoted and attempted to throw in behind Lalida at second - she got back before the tag, and LP hustled down to first safely.

Sal roped a ball into the hole between third and shortstop, but Forbes' shortstop made a ridiculous backhand play and tossed to third to force Lalida. That's a tough fielder's choice. (And it was the second crazy awesome backhand play that guy made against us.) After Brian Walters lined out to the short fielder in right field, a five-run inning seemed unlikely. But CNap lined a base hit to left, loading the bases, and Jeff Boison cashed in two runs with a line drive to center, with CNap and Jeff both alerting moving up on the throw home. Neil singled to center, scoring CNap and Jeff, and then Neil capped the scoring by never slowing down, coming all the way around from first on Mike's hammered line drive to center.

Forbes tallied another run in their half of the fifth, keeping it a one-run game. The Bullets missed a chance to add to their lead in the sixth. Joel worked a two-out walk, went to third on Alli's single, but was left stranded when LP flew out. Probably didn't help that John didn't run hard to first on a line drive into shallow left. The overly aggressive, and strong-armed short fielder threw him out. Last of the sixth, with one aboard, a Forbes hitter drilled a rope down the left field line, where it rolled and rolled...

and rolled...

and rolled...

and rolled. Both runners scored before John even caught up to the ball, and Forbes took a one run lead to the seventh. But hey, the Bullets are nothing if not resilient. And I told you we won in the lead. Sal led off the seventh with an infield single and took second on an overthrow. After Brian popped out to the catcher, CNap singled and moved Sal to third. Jeff's grounder through the middle scored Sal, tying the game. CNap hustled around to third on the play, and Larry Ganem collected the game-winning RBI with a single to left field. A bigger inning came up short when Mike grounded into a 6-3 double play, but that didn't matter: after a bottom seven leadoff single, Larry induced three ground balls, ending the game with consecutive 5-4, 6-4, 6-4 fielder's choices.

First of all, a big welcome and thanks to Forbes. It was a terrific game, lots of back and forth, and I think I speak for all the Bullets that we can't wait for the rematch! And a thank you to Lalida Musso for coming out for the game during her brief East Coast visit. You're welcome to play again any time, and never mind all those nasty things CNap says about you!

Credit also to some defensive highlights: Sal's sliding catch of a popup that fell between the branches of an overhanging tree, Mike's backhand stab, and catches made near the wall in right field by Brian and Jay.

7-5 (2-1 NYMSL), the Bullets meet The Economist on Monday, North Meadow #10.

Bullet Box:
LCF Neil Hiremath - 2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI / P Larry Ganem - 1-2, RBI
3B Mike Lorah - 3-4, R, RBI, double
RF Pat Brosseau - 0-3, RBI
RCF Jay Kogan - 0-2, RBI
LF John Choi - 2-3
SS Joel Press - 0-2, BB
C Allison Dugas - 1-2 / 2B Lalida Musso - 1-1
DH LP Vollano 0-3, R
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, 2 R
RCF Brian Walters - 1-3
C/2B - Christine Napolitano - 2-3, 2 R
RF Jeff Boison - 2-3, R, 3 RBI

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In the Swing of Things: Bullets Beat up NY Magazine

Playing the miniscule Walker Park proved a tonic for the DC Bullets' embattled offense. Per New York Magazine's rules, the game went nine innings, only three outfielders patrolled the abbreviated expanse of turf, and both teams were limited to three over-the-fence homeruns on a field whose fence is only 200 ft from home plate. It is a fairly high fence, but damn, it's a short one. Thirty hits, including eight for extra bases, paved the way for an 18-5 Bullet win.

DC, however, played rare game without benefit of any Y chromosomes. Where were you, ladies?

Anyway, after Neil Hiremath's popup, the Bullets struck quickly in the top of the first. Mike Lorah lined a single off the pitcher's glove, and Pat Brosseau doubled off the base of the fence. Jay Kogan wasted no time claiming the first home run, crushing a three-run jack over the left field wall (and the street beyond that). NY Mag's clean-up hitter returned the favor in the bottom half, but with one less runner aboard.

The comic book makers put the game away early, scoring nine times in the second, sending fourteen hitters to the plate. After Sal Cipriano's groundout, six straight reached: John Choi singled, Vince Letterio doubled, and Brian Walters drove them both home with a rocket off the right field fence. Larry Ganem legged out an infield single, and Neil lined a base hit to center to load the bases. Mike took advantage of the traffic jam on the bases, homering to center field. After Pat grounded out for the second out, Jay couldn't resist - lining a solo (and the team's last) home run over the fence in right center. Travis Hastback singled, Nel Yomtov doubled, Sal drove in a run with a shot to left, and John did the same before Vince flew out to end the rally.

With the home runs used up, the bats started to look tentative in the middle innings. Neil's two-out single was the only base runner in the third; Jay's base hit the only in the fourth; and DC mustered only singles by John and Vince in the fifth.

Larry Ganem, however, never let NY Mag get any closer, inducing routine popups and groundouts through the middle innings.

DC got back on the board in the sixth. Mike legged out a one-out infield single, moved to second on Pat's hit, to third on Jay's fielder's choice, and then scored on Travis's line single to left.
Travis's first RBI of the year!

Seventh: Sal singled, went first to third on John's single, and John took second on the throw. Vince cashed them both in with a base hit. After Brian grounded out, Larry singled, Neil did the same, driving in Vince, and Mike singled to right to load the bases. Pat popped out, and Jay came up with the bases loaded. Too bad he used the last home run on a solo job! Never the less, Jay lined a two-run single to center to cap a five-run inning and the Bullets' scoring. (Nel did pop one over the fence in the eighth, but that one counted as an out.)

NY Mag tacked on single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth. Along the way, Larry got their clean-up hitter, who'd homered in the first, to ground into an easy force play with two aboard and two out, and Mike made a nice play on a popup in shallow left.

6-5 (1-1 NYMSL), the Bullets face NYMSL newcomer Forbes tonight (weather pending).

Bullet Box:
OF Neil Hiremath - 3-6, 2 R, RBI
3B Mike Lorah - 4-6, 3 R, 4 RBI, home run
C/2B Pat Brosseau - 2-5, R, double
OF Jay Kogan - 4-5, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 home runs
OF Travis Hastback - 2-5, R, RBI
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-5, R, double
1B Sal Cipriano - 2-5, R, RBI, double
OF John Choi - 4-5, 2 R, RBI, double
OF Vince Letterio - 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, double
C/2B Brian Walters - 2-5, R, 2 RBI, double
P Larry Ganem - 2-5, 2 R

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bullets Overcome Sluggish Start, Triumph Over Scientific American

Last week, the DC Bullets had one opponent cancel a game and a second game rained out. In the early innings of this Thursday's game against Scientific American (henceforth referred to as SA because I don't want to type it all out), the rusty bats were in evidence, but the team got more comofortable and confident as the game rolled along. A nailbiter in the early innings evolved into a comfortable victory for DC, as they rolled to a 7-1 win.

While the offense looked comatose in the early going, the DC defense showcased its range and efficiency all afternoon. SA managed only one baserunner in the first, and that only because Nel Yomtov, the super-soldier, attempted to field a groundball with is teeth. Fortunately, they're all secured very well and stayed in place.

Bottom one, DC got a quick lead, but the momentum stalled just as rapidly. Neil Hiremath lined a hit into shallow center and hustled it into a double, and then Mike Lorah caught a break when SA's first and second basemen miscommunicated on a pop-up, playing it into an RBI single. After Pat Brosseau's fly out to deep left, Travis Hastback singled, moving Mike into scoring position, but Joel Press popped up and Nel grounded to the third baseman.

The opposition scored their only run in the second, temporarily tying the game, and after Christine Napolitano's leadoff single, the Bullets went down in order. After a scoreless third for SA, Larry Ganem manufactured the go-ahead and eventual winning run for the Bullets.

Larry stroked a single to center and, on Neil's one-out single, went first to third, drawing a throw from the SA centerfielder, which went wild into the dugout, enabling Larry to stroll home with the lead. A groundout by Mike and popup from Pat prevented further scoring.

The defense, as mentioned earlier, showed off in the top of the fourth. SA's leadoff hitter drilled a long triple to left field, putting the tying run just 60 feet away. The next batter lofted a soft pop into shallow center, and the runner went halfway down the base line, waiting for the ball to drop in. But Vince Letterio, coming from nowhere, snowconed the ball for the first out, and the runner retreated to third. The runner again broke for home when the next hitter grounded a ball to third base, but Mike, realizing the Bullets' offense wasn't firing on all cylinders, threw home to CNap covering to start a rundown that culminated in a 5-2-5 put-out. One more routine out and the final scoring threat of the afternoon was past.

In the fifth, the Bullets finally started to settle in in the batter's box. Sal Cipriano hammered a double down the left field line, and went to third on Vince's single. John Choi's popup fell into no man's land in shallow left, scoring Sal and putting two more in scoring position. And Larry Ganem cashed both runs in with a check-swing grounder into right field.

Twice more the Bullets scored in the sixth, as Pat singled and Travis doubled to start the frame. Joel's RBI groundout added a run, and Nel's double a second.

Other defensive highlights included Jeff Boison's two outstanding catches in right field in the seventh, and Neil Hiremath's charging catch in the fifth (I think).

5-5 (1-1 in NYMSL), the Bullets play three games next week. Tuesday, it's New York Magazine on the old Newsweek field; first-ever meeting with Forbes, a newcomer to the NYMSL, at Riverside Park on Thursday; and a Friday rematch against The Nation on their downtown field.

Bullet Box Score:
RCF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, R, double
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, RBI
RF Pat Brosseau - 1-3, R
LF Travis Hastback - 3-3, R, double
2B Joel Press - 0-3, RBI
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-3, RBI, double
C Christine Napolitano - 2-3
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, R, double
LCF Vince Letterio - 1-3, R
LF John Choi - 1-2, R, RBI, double
P Larry Ganem - 2-2, R, 2 RBI
RF Jeff Boison - 0-2

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smoked! Valiant Bullets Stung by High Times

There's good and there's bad in every game. The dark cloud in Friday's silver lining is that the High Times Bonghitters bested our DC Bullets 12-5. On a more positive note, however, the Bullets played a much sharper game than the previous day's lackluster effort against truTV.

I can only recall two egregious errors in the High Times game, both dropped pop-ups that were turned into fielder's choices anyway. Third baseman Mike Lorah rushed a throw and wound up giving away an extra base on the overthrow, but the runner would've been safe at first anyway and didn't score in the end. In short, the game turned out to be a solid defensive effort and a reminder how capable the Bullet's defense can be. Alas, the High Times team just lit up Larry Ganem with hard line drives in the early innings to build up a quick and insurmountable lead, and the Bullet offense continues to press. Jay Kogan's been locked in and Pat Brosseau's a hitting machine right now; the rest of the bats have scuffled, however.

In the first, after Neil Hiremath's pop-up, Nel Yomtov started things up with a single. Mike Lorah's early season struggles continued, however, as he's either trying to do too much or when he does hit the ball well, it seems to go right to somebody. This time, High Times pitcher snared a screaming liner and doubled Nel off first to close out the inning.

High Times' leadoff hitter immediately homered to centerfield, an ominous start for sure, and the Bonghitters scored six times in the bottom of the first, all the runs they'd need. But they added four in the second and two in the fourth for good measure.

DC got on the board in the second, as Jay Kogan led off with a double. Pat Brosseau followed with a hard line drive single to the left fielder. Jay had to hold at third, as the ball got to the outfield so quickly. Joel Press's RBI single got Jay home, but three straight fly ball outs from CNap, Sal Cipriano and Vince Letterio stalled the momentum.

Brian Walters singled to start the third, but was doubled off on Laura Demoreuille's line drive back to the pitcher. Larry Ganem flew out to end the third.

Neil's single, Nel's fielder's choice and Mike's double off the edge of the centerfielder's outstretched glove (the relay back to the infield was abetted by sunbathers - I felt I should've been awarded an extra base, but what can you do? ;) set up Jay Kogan's two-run single in the fourth, but back-to-back groundouts ended the threat, and the Bullets went in order in the fifth and sixth innings.

In fact, with Neil's fly out to start the seventh, nine straight Bullets were retired from the fourth through seventh innings. Nel ended that streak through with a one-out single, but Mike (trying to do too much) popped up to center for the second out. Jay worked a walk to move Nel into scoring position, and Pat cashed him in with a base hit. Joel singled to load the bases, and CNap drove home another with a single to left. But Sal grounded out to shortstop to wrap the game.

4-5 (1-1 NYMSL), the Bullets have two games this week. Comedy Central comes to North Meadow #2 on Thursday, and the Bullets travel to North Meadow #7 on Saturday morning for an NYMSL showdown against 2010 champion (but two-time regular season loser to DC!) Wall St. Journal.

Bullets Box:
LCF Neil Hiremath - 1-3
SS Nel Yomtov - 2-3, 2 R
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R, double
LF Jay Kogan - 2-2, 2R, 2 RBI, BB, double
OF Pat Brosseau - 2-3, RBI
OF Joel Press - 2-3, RBI
2B/RF Christine Napolitano - 1-3, RBI
OF/1B Sal Cipriano - 0-3
LF Vince Letterio - 0-2
OF Brian Walters - 1-2
1B/2B Laura Demoruielle - 0-2
P Larry Ganem - 0-2

Friday, June 3, 2011

No Lying: Total Team Effort in Bullets' Loss to truTV

I was offered a few bribes to not write this one up. And I didn't really need one to think over the possibility of "being too busy".

But here it is: Thursday, the DC Bullets matched up against truTV for the first time ever. Here's what you need to know: seven innings, a meager ten hits - only one for extra bases. Four three up-three down innings. And only four hits after the first inning. Add in one of the Bullets' sloppier defense days - a couple throwing errors from Mike Lorah and Nel Yomtov, Vince Letterio's dropped fly ball, a popup lost in the sun by Sal Cipriano, and twice that pitcher Pat Brosseau fielded a comebacker and went to first rather than taking out a lead runner, and the Bullets afforded the opposition a few extra runners and a few extra bases.

None of this should take anything away from truTV. They took advantage of DC's defensive miscues, and their leadoff hitter smoked one of the few over-the-fence home runs witnessed at North Meadow #2. And even with the misplays, truTV mustered only 9 runs in seven innings, but it was enough for a 9-6 win over the comic book makers.

Ironically, the game looked like a slugfest in the early going. truTV scored four times in the top of the first, and it was probably the most solid defensive inning DC played all afternoon. The balls fell in or stayed just out of reach. I think there were three balls that I just barely didn't get to in that frame (and, admittedly, one I probably should've had). But the Bullets came out swinging in the bottom of the first, tying the game at four.

Travis Hastback, Nel, Mike, Pat, LP Vollano and Christine Napolitano all singled in sequence to start the inning. The first four in that sequence scored. The latter four picked up RBIs. Sal grounded into a fielder's choice, Vince flew out, and Jennie Gaeta grounded into a fielder's choice to stall the rally, and the offensive ineptitude began.

Beginning with Sal, nine straight Bullets were retired to end the first, and then roll right through the second and third innings without even a baserunner. Fortunately, truTV's offense couldn't push a run across the plate either. truTV scored once in the fourth for a lead.

DC responded. LP singled, and CNap got the worst fielder's choice in history when she lined a sure base hit into left, but the leftfielder threw into second to force LP. Sal waited out fifteen or so pitches before finally lining a hard single into left (best at-bat of the day, see note below), and then Vince crushed a double over the leftfielder. CNap and Sal both came home, giving DC a brief lead. Jennie and Brian Walters grounded out, however, and truTV came back with two runs in the fifth to retake control of the game.

The comic book makers went down in order in both the fifth and sixth innings, another string of eight straight batters retired. truTV added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. In the last of the seventh, the Bullets didn't even put up a fight. CNap singled, her second hit of the game (joining LP with the only multihit games of the afternoon). Sal's fielder's choice took her off the bases, and Vince's pop-up and Jennie's routine fly ball wrapped up a lackluster game.

4-4 (1-0 NYMSL), the Bullets take on the High Times Bonghitters this afternoon on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

A couple observations: CNap and Brian played a strong right field, and Jennie saved a couple low throws on force plays at second, so the defense wasn't a total letdown. And honestly, despite an error each, Mike and Nel had a lot hit at them and turned most into outs.

The other thing I see, as discussed with Nel, is that the Bullets don't hit bad pitching. Impatience had the team reaching for terrible pitches, and maybe four balls put into play all day were hit with any authority. Playing High Times today, we'll have the advantage of an umpire to keep the pitcher near the plate, but we need to be pickier about what pitches we're swinging at. And that goes for me as much as anybody.

Bullets Box:
LF Travis Hastback - 1-3, R
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-3, R
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R, RBI
P Pat Brosseau - 1-3, R, RBI
DH LP Vollano - 2-3, RBI
RF Christine Napolitano - 2-3, R, RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, R
LCF Vince Letterio - 1-3, 2 RBI, double
2B Jennie Gaeta - 0-3
RCF Brian Walters - 0-2
C Allison Dugas - 0-2