The DC Bullets lost a golden opportunity to move up in the New York Media Softball League standings Thursday evening, dropping a 12-8 decision to BusinessWeek in both squad’s semi-final league game. They’ll square off again Tuesday at 5:30 in Central Park, North Meadow, Field #3, in each team’s final game of the regular season.
Thursday evening, The Bullets jumped out to the early lead, with 3B Mike Lorah (3-3, 3 runs, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, walk) driving a two-out double into the right field corner. RF Brian Cunningham’s (2-4, 2 runs, RBI) RBI single drove Lorah in, and Brian alertly took second on the throw home. DH Larry “LP” Vollano (2-2, run, 5 RBI, home run, sac fly) tacked a second run on with a single, scoring Brian. In the bottom of the first, BusinessWeek served immediate notice that they would not go quietly, as their lead-off hitter drilled a long home run to left field. Two more runs plated for BW, but DC escaped the inning when, with one out and runners on first and second, Lorah and 1B Joel Press (0-2) hooked up for a 5-3 double play.
The DC team went down in order in the second, and BusinessWeek came out strong, adding four more runs and upping their advantage to 7-2. After a mutually scoreless third, the Bullets cut a run off the deficit in the fourth. Lorah doubled leading off, took third on Cunningham’s ground out, and touched the plate after LP’s sacrifice fly. BW went down scoreless again in their half, but the Bullets had a second 1-2-3 inning in top five.
Putting up five runs in the last of the fifth, BusinessWeek took a 12-3 advantage and put the game seemingly out of reach. The inning (from my perspective, anyway) was highlighted by Lorah’s two errors at third base.
Fortunately, continuing this season’s theme, the DC team remained resilient. 1B Laura Demoreuille (1-1, run) and CF Neil Hiremath (1-2) singled to open the sixth. After SS Adam Schlagman (1-4, run) grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase Neil, Mike Lorah singled through the middle, buzzing the pitcher’s hair. Laura scored easily, and running hard the whole way and smartly taking advantage of a lazy toss back to the infield, Schlagman also raced home on the base hit. Brian Cunningham singled to left, and the big man, LP, launched a three-run bomb deep into left field. The Rookie of Year balloting should be pretty unanimous after LP drove in over half of Thursday’s runs. The five run outburst pulled the game within four runs, and a scoreless turn at bat by BusinessWeek in the last of the sixth gave the Bullets a chance in the seventh.
In the seventh, P Larry Ganem (1-1, walk) and Adam Schlagman each singled with two outs, and Lorah drew the four-pitch walk, bringing Brian Cunningham to the plate as the tying run. Brian made good contact, but his fly ball to left field proved to be the final out, as BusinessWeek secured the 12-8 victory.
At 4-5 in the NYMSL (10-8 overall), the Bullets are already assured a playoff spot, but unless they can wallop BW in Tuesday’s rematch, they’ll be going in as the fourth and final seed.
The Bullets worked a season-high three walks on Thursday, with Larry Ganem, the Super-Soldier Nel Yomtov and Mike Lorah each taking a free pass.
Offensively (on at least two levels), the Bullets also opened four of seven innings with both of the first two hitters up making outs. Two-out rallies are a lot harder when you have to start them from scratch, and unsurprisingly, the team only scored in one of those four frames. Contrastingly, the five-run sixth saw seven Bullets collect a hit (Laura, Neil, Mike, Brian, LP, Pat Brosseau & Adam Staffaroni), with LP’s homer being the only extra-base knock among them.
Shout out to CF Vince Letterio (0-1) for a great running catch in shallow left, and LF Andrew Arnold (0-1) and SCF Lauren Fries (0-2) for their continually excellent outfield play. And a round of drinks for Jerry Cerza, back on the field Thursday after an arduous rehab process. Good to have to back, man.