Thursday afternoon, the DC Bullets matched up against Air America in a non-league softball game. Though the DC squad’s bats again struggled to push runs across the plate, outstanding glove work continues to keep the team in games.
After a lead-off single by Air America in the first, SS Adam Schlagman cut off a grounder that seemed headed into center field. The Captain stepped on second and threw through to first base where Nel Yomtov (2-3) squeezed the throw to complete the twin-killing. Air America’s three-hitter then scorched a rocket toward right field, but CNap, Christine Napolitano (2-3), made a spectacular short-hop pick and got the out at first. With two amazing defensive plays, the Bullets looked to capitalize on the momentum and take an early lead.
Bottom of the first, Schlagman’s liner into left deflected off the tip of the diving left fielder’s glove, and Adam (2-3, 2 runs) pulled into second with a lead-off double. Mike Lorah (3-3, run, RBI), on the hill for the day, lined an RBI single into center and moved up to second on the throw. Lorah tagged and went to third on LF Jay Kogan’s (1-3, RBI) fly to right and came home on RF Pat Brosseau’s (1-3, RBI, double) double. A fly out, Nel’s single and a grounder ended the inning, but the Bullets captured an early 2-0 lead.
Air America’s second turn at bat was nearly a replay of their first. A single, a hard chopper back to the mound, which turned into a 1-6-3 double play, and a line drive snared by 2B Erin Dawald (1-3). The Bagman, C Sal Cipriano singled to start the DC second, moved into scoring position on Erin’s ground out, to third on CNap’s base hit into shallow left, and raced home when CF Neil Hiremath (0-3, RBI) tapped into a fielder’s choice that erased CNap. LF Andrew Arnold (0-3) lined out hard for the final out, but the comic book team tacked on another run.
In the third, Schlagman, Lorah and Kogan produced three consecutive singles to score a run (by Schlagman, RBI to Jay), but three successive pop flies squelched further scoring, and that would be the last run DC scored for the afternoon. They mustered four singles over the final three frames, and left all the runners stranded.
Fortunately for DC, the defense was up to the challenge of protecting the scant four-run lead. Doc Lauren Fries (1-3) and Andrew tracked down long fly balls, and Jay Kogan showed off his arm by cutting down a runner at third on a first-to-third attempt. Air America scored twice on consecutive two-out doubles (with a runner already on base) in the top of the fifth, but after that, DC slammed the door. The sixth and seventh went without incident, and Nel Yomtov squeezed the pop-up from Air America’s final hitter to secure the 4-2 victory.
The Bullets push their record to 8-5 (2-3 in New York Media League play).
Earlier this Friday afternoon should’ve been the Bullets return to NYM League play, but yet another rainstorm washed the game away. With the massive number of rain-outs this summer, the Bullets are well behind in League play. Half the schedule remains on the docket, so there’s a long way to go before the playoff seeding can be determined.
Adam Staffaroni didn’t have his best day at the dish (0-3), but he continues to develop as a third baseman. Though he handled only one pop-up Thursday, he ranged far to his right, cleanly back-handed, and set to throw a hard-hit foul ball.
And yes, boys and girls, if you’re in New York and you’ve been looking for an excuse to see the Bullets in action, next Thursday, August 6 is the red-letter day. It’s DC vs. Marvel, settling old grudges on the diamond. We’ll see you in the North Meadow on Field #2 at 5:30.