The Scholastic softball team is nicknamed “The Red Dogs”, in reference to their famous cartoon icon Clifford, though at Thursday’s misting, overcast softball game, perhaps they’d be better nicknamed the “Captain Cliffords”. Once again, the Bullets massive roster came to the rescue of a short-handed opponent. With Scholastic’s squad decimated by this weekend’s impending Book Expo and an apparent fear of wet weather, four Red Dogs were joined by Bullet stalwarts Jeff Boison, Adam Staffaroni, Erin Dawald, Rickey Purdin and Jerry Cerza.
The Bullets team proper jumped to an early lead, with 3B Mike Lorah (4-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI, triple) looping a two-out, opposite field triple onto the right field line to score CF Vince Letterio (1-5, two FC, 2 runs) and SCF Doug Harrison (3-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI, home run). After the Red Dogs tied the score in top two, P Larry Ganem (3-5, 1 run, 3 RBI, double) doubled, 2B Doc Lauren Fries (3-5, 2 runs) singled, and both came around to score later in the inning. Later Fries and C Sal Cipriano (2-5, run) opened the fourth with singles. Lauren came home on RF Neil Hiremath’s (1-5, run, RBI) fielder’s choice grounder when the throw home was late. Sal then scored on SS Adam Schlagman (3-5, 2 RBI, sac fly) sacrifice fly. Three more singles from LF Andrew Arnold (1-6, run, RBI), Letterio and Lorah produced two more runs. In the last of the sixth inning, Harrison cranked a home run with Vince on first base, and Lorah and 1B Joel “Happy 40th, sorry we couldn’t win one for ya” Press (2-5, run, double) later touched the plate on Ganem’s two-run single.
However, in the top of the seventh, trailing 12-4, the heretofore undefeated Red Dogs (with a little help from five of our own – sorry, gang, I don’t have stats for the Bullets who played on the opposition) staged a massive eight-run rally, tying the game. With the go-ahead run on third and only one out, ace pitcher Larry Ganem induced an infield pop-up and a routine grounder to short to give the Bullets a chance for a walk-off win in the last of the seventh. After Hiremath led off the frame with an infield single, bringing the top of the order to the plate, it looked like the Bullets were in a position to put the victory in their back pocket. However, the 1-2-3 hitters, Schlagman, Arnold and Letterio, went down in order, forcing the Bullets’ first extra inning game of the year.
A lead-off bomb to left field put the Red Dogs up a run, but Ganem shut the door on further scoring. Lorah then laced a one-out single to center, moved to second on a grounder by Press, and raced home on Ganem’s infield single to tie the score in the last of the eighth. One more inning of bonus softball was agreed to, though a few competitors grumbled about being soggy and wanting to go to a bar.
In top nine, the Red Dogs once more scraped out a go-ahead run. After Cipriano and Hiremath were retired in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Dogs were one out from victory, when their center fielder bobbled Adam Schlagman’s long fly ball. With the tying run on second base, 2008’s Rookie of the Year, Andrew “short-timer” Arnold stood in. One pitch later, the Bullets’ own Adam Staffaroni settled under Arnold’s fly ball in left field, squeezing it for the final out and ensuring the Scholastic Red Dogs a hard-fought 14-13 win.
The Bullets record is now 2-2 (0-0 in league games), and they match up against the “shock-jocks” of WNYC in their first game of the New York Media Softball League season this coming Monday, June 1. Local fans can check out the action in Central Park’s North Meadow, Field #10 at 5:30pm.
All stats provided for this game are guesstimated, because the game was played in a steady mist, leading to ink runs in the score book. Also, nobody kept the book in the 7th through 9th innings, so I did my best to reconstruct those innings from memory.
Big props to Bullet Jeff Boison for taking the mound for Scholastic and pitching a very good game. The Bullets know who they can look to next time they’re short for pitching.
Yeah, Joel Press celebrated the big 4-0. Just want to make sure nobody missed that.
Thanks to the Bullets who agreed to play for Scholastic. One thing we’ve determined in the early going this year: The Bullets team is a good match for itself. Counting one intramural game and two games with heavy roster-lending, the Bullets have played three one-run games against themselves this season!