For the second time this season, the High Times Bonghitters benefited from one run-packed inning and an inconsistent Bullet offense to upend the DC Bullets, trumping the comic book makers Monday evening 10-7 in Central Park. The Bullets’ 9-2 record includes a 4-2 standing in the New York Media Softball League, and even in a loss, the comic book makers enjoyed wily Larry Ganem’s stunning strikeout of an opposing slugger and Nel Yomtov’s outstanding defense.
DC got off to a quick start, as they’ve done most of the 2010 summer. Centerfielder Neil Hiremath (1-1, 2 R, BB) led off with a single, and third baseman Mike Lorah (2-3, R, 4 RBI, 2B, HR) followed with a drive to center, splitting the left- and right-centerfielders for a home run and a quick 2-0 lead. Adam Schlagman, shortstop and co-captain, singled as part of a strong 3-3 day that included a run scored, an RBI and a walk, and leftfielder Andrew Arnold (2-4, RBI) doubled to put two more runners in scoring position with nobody out. LF Jay Kogan (1-2, RBI) beat out an infield single, scoring Adam for a third run, but Andrew was caught in a rundown and tagged for the first out. Back-to-back fly outs gave High Times a chance to get back into it, and the Bonghitters tallied a single run.
The Bullets retired in order in the second, and High Times tacked on a second run in their half. The Bullets, however, dodged a potentially bigger inning when Nel Yomtov (0-1), his supersoldier training still lodged in his muscle memory, made one of the most spectacular plays in NYMSL history. Burned on a monstrous fly ball to deep right center, Nel broke back, running full speed away the infield and just when it seemed the ball was over his head, made a leaping, full-extension, sno-cone snare to deny a sure home run.
Leading 3-2 at the end of two frames, the Bullets tacked on a run in the third. After a pop-up, RCF Pat Brosseau smoked a double to right field, and Mike Lorah followed suit with a ball into the left center field gap to score Pat. After Schlagman worked a walk, the Bonghitters took advantage of the force play opportunity when Andrew’s hard grounder to third set up a perfect 5-3 double play. Nevertheless, the Bullets shut down the opposing bats in the third, holding a 4-2 lead.
In the fourth, second baseman Joel Press (1-1) lined a single to center to start things up, but a line out and successive infield pop-outs stalled the threat. High Times had no such difficulties in their half. A series of hard hit line drives and shallow outfield flares all found a way to reach the grass before a Bullet defender could reach them, and before it was over, the Bonghitters touched the plate eight times, taking a 10-4 advantage.
The resolute Bullets immediately responded. Ace Larry Ganem (1-1) singled and rightfielder Brian Walters went opposite field with a flare into shallow left. Brian finished 1-1 with a run scored. Catcher Allison Dugas’s (0-1) fielder’s choice erased Larry, but Neil Hiremath worked a walk to load the bases with only one out. Lorah picked up an RBI, but also stalled some offensive momentum with a sacrifice fly to right field, and Schlagman and Arnold both singled to add a second run. Jay flew out to deep left, but the Bullets held High Times scoreless in the bottom half to keep the game tight.
Designated hitter LP Vollano (1-2) singled and first baseman Laura Demoreuille (0-1, BB) walked to open the sixth, but a flyout and another tailor-made 5-3 double play groundball made for a scoreless sixth. Fortunately, the Bullet defense returned the favor in the bottom half. With two away and nobody on base, Larry Ganem picked up a strikeout of a quality Bonghitter slugger. After a called first strike and an enormously deep foul ball, Larry took advantage of being up two strikes, going upstairs and beating the Bonghitter, who swung through the offering.
Excited by the punch-out, the Bullets felt they could come back in the seventh. Catcher Katie Kubert’s (1-2, R) one-out in-between hop handcuffed the shortstop for an infield single, and Pat lined a hard base hit to center field. Lorah popped up to right center for the second out, but Adam Schlagman’s flare into shallow left dropped into no man’s land, scoring Katie. Representing the tying run, Andrew Arnold smashed a ball, but the hard one-hopper went directly to the High Times’ third baseman who went to the base, forcing Pat at third for the final out.
At 9-2 (4-2 in the NYMSL), the DC Bullets are still having their finest season in recent memory. This coming Thursday, they’ll have an intrasquad scrimmage to sharpen the defense, but they return to game action the following Thursday at 5:30pm on North Meadow’s Field #2.