Sunday afternoon (after, fittingly, a one-day rain delay), the DC Bullets played their final softball games of the 2009 summer. As the fourth and final seed in the New York Media Softball League playoff bracket, not much was expected of the Bullets, and indeed, the first tilt against regular season (and eventual playoff) champion Wall St. Journal didn’t go well for the comic book makers. In the fifth, SS Adam Schlagman (2-4, run, 2 RBI) singled home Mike Lorah (2-3, run); SCF Doug Harrison (2-2, RBI) drove in RF Brian Cunningham (2-4, run) in the sixth, after Brian’s long triple to left; and in the seventh, Schlagman drove 3B Adam Staffaroni (1-2, run) home one batter before CF Andrew Arnold (2-4, run, 3 RBI, HR) crushed a long home run to drive in three more. DC’s six-run total was topped by Wall St. Journal’s eight-run fourth inning alone, as the 18-6 final tally sent the Bullets to the “consolation” game to play the loser of the High Times-BusinessWeek game.
With BusinessWeek’s triumph over the Bonghitters, the Bullets still had to match up against the 2008 NYMSL champions in the consolation game. Having split the regular season series at a game apiece and knowing it would be their final softball game of the summer, both teams were prepared to have some fun and give their best efforts. The Bullets won the coin toss to be the home team.
After holding the Bonghitters scoreless in the first, SS Adam Schlagman (3-4, 2 runs, triple) started the Bullets off with a bang, tripling. 3B Mike Lorah (2-3, run, 2 RBI, SF) popped up to right field, but deep enough to allow Schlagman to score. RF Brian Cunningham (1-1, run) singled, but came up lame with a leg injury at first base. Joel Press, originally intended to share at-bats with Dougie Harrison in the line-up’s 8 hole, pinch ran and assumed Brian’s slot as the number three hitter. That comes back to matter. Anyway, CF Andrew Arnold (2-4, run, 2 RBI, HR) homered for the second consecutive at-bat (including his final appearance of the earlier playoff game), scoring two more runs. LF Jay Kogan (2-2, run, RBI, BB) walked, DH Larry “LP” Vollano (1-3, run) singled, 2B Christine “CNap” Napolitano (2-3, RBI) singled to score Jay, and SCF Doug Harrison (1-2, RBI, SF) added a sacrifice fly to bring in LP to cap a five-run opening frame.
High Times put up a run in their half of the second, but the Bullets opened up a larger lead in the second. Base hits by RF Nel Yomtov (1-2, run) and 1B Laura Demoriuelle (1-2, 2 runs, BB) opened the inning. One out later, Lorah singled into center field to score Nel, and SCF Joel Press (yes, him – 2-3, run, 4 RBI, HR) hammered a three-run homer into left to highlight the four-run inning. In the third, High Times roared back into the game with a seven-run outburst, and the Bullets clung to a 9-8 lead at the end of only three innings.
Back-to-back singles by Schlagman and Lorah opened the Bullet half of the fourth, and it appeared the inning would go to waste when the following two hitters both popped out, but Jay Kogan came up with a huge clutch two-out at-bat, singling to score Schlagman (who had aggressively tagged up and gone to third on a fly ball to left field).
It was a vital run, as the Bonghitters rallied back in the top of the sixth inning. With two runs home, tying the game, the High Times team put the go-ahead run on second base with two outs. The next hitter smashed a hard ground ball that seemed destined for right field, but a diving Laura Demoriuelle snared the ball and kept it on the infield. Although there was no chance to get an out, preventing the ball from reaching the outfield saved a run, and P Larry Ganem induced an inning-ending grounder to short from the next hitter.
In the last of the sixth inning, Laura led off by drawing a four-pitch walk, putting the go-ahead run on base for the DC team. Schlagman singled to move Laura into scoring position. After Mike Lorah flew out to deep right field, moving the go-ahead run to third, Joel Press (yes, him) came up with a tremendous base hit through the middle to score Laura. Taking their slim lead to the top of the seventh, the comic makers needed only three outs to secure their first-ever NYMSL playoff victory.
A one-out single by the Bonghitters put the tying run on first base. After a fielder’s choice to third took them to their last out, High Times added another single, putting the tying run on second base and into scoring position. Fortunately for the Bullets, Larry Ganem did what he’s done well all season, getting a routine ground ball to third base from the game’s final hitter. Mike Lorah fielded the ball and went to the third base bag for the final out, securing the DC Bullets’ season-ending 11-10 win over the High Times Bonghitters.
The Bullets finish, fitting with the game’s final score, 11-10 overall, including their 5-7 NYMSL record.
Well, the statistics are a bit of a mess. I’m missing, by my count, two or three and a half games worth of stats, and there are certainly some dubious scoring decisions made throughout the season. Add in the clerical inconsistencies in the scorebook and you have some slightly questionable statistics. That said, here are some statistical leaders from the DC Bullets 2009 season:
At-bats: Schlagman 62; Lorah 56; Brosseau and Cipriano 40
Runs: Lorah 27; Schlagman 24; Arnold 11
Hits: Lorah 39; Schlagman 34; Arnold 22
Doubles: Vollano 4; Lorah, Brosseau, Cipriano and Arnold 3
Triples: Schlagman 5; Lorah and Arnold 3
Home Runs: Schlagman 5; Arnold 3; Lorah, Letterio and Press 2
RBI: Schlagman 19; Vollano 18; Lorah 16
Batting Average: Lorah .696; Arnold .611; Yomtov .609
OBP: Lorah .678; Yomtov .640; Arnold .622
SLG: Arnold 1.111; Schlagman .984; Lorah .964
OPS: Arnold 1.733; Lorah 1.642; Schlagman 1.538
The Bullets extend a huge thanks to all the teams that have taken time out to play against them this summer, particularly their NYMSL league-mates and all those who put in time to keep it running amid the unending rain-outs. It was a pleasure and we always had a good time, even when the score wasn’t to our liking.
Also, thanks to everyone who played with the Bullets this season, those who came out to watch the games, Matt, Mike, Lucas and Troy for letting us have the game summaries here, and the handful of you who actually read these write-ups.