DC Bullet co-captains Adam Schlagman and Sal Cipriano were contacted last Thursday evening by representatives from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, looking for an opponent for an open date in their schedule. The Bullets agreed to the game, to be played by Daily Show rules, which includes nine innings of softball rather than seven, but the late notice and holiday weekend conspired to deprive the team of several key players. Sluggers Jay Kogan and LP Vollano, ace pitchers Larry Ganem and Joel Press, and five-tool stud Lauren Fries were among the missing players, as the DC Bullets fielded only nine of their twenty-person roster Monday evening.
With Mike Lorah filling in on the mound, the Bullets stifled the Daily Show sluggers early. After a lead-off home run in the bottom of the first, a series of infield pop-ups and routine fly balls kept the Daily Show to a single run through four innings. The Bullets, weighed down themselves by the mid-90s temperatures, struggled to sustain long rallies, but scored consistently to seize the early lead.
In the top of the first, the Bullet bats looked sluggish in the wilting heat, rolling over ground ball after ground ball. Centerfielder Neil Hiremath and Mike Lorah beat out infield rollers to get things started. After shortstop Adam Schlagman bounced into a 6-5 fielder’s choice, erasing Neil, LF Andrew Arnold hammered a single to center to load the bases. Brian Cunningham, playing second base, bounced into a 6-5 fielder’s choice, scoring Mike, erasing Adam, and opening the door Andrew to come all the way around from first to score on an errant double-play throw. The Daily Show scored once in their half, and held the line in the second, limiting the Bullets to 1B Laura Demoreuille’s two-out single.
With one out in the third, the comic book makers strung together five consecutive singles, as Adam, Andrew and Brian all came around to score, with Brian picking up a second RBI. Catcher Katie Kubert chipped in with the fourth base hit, and 3B Nel Yomtov capped the inning with a two-run base knock down the left field line. Both teams turned in scoreless fourth innings, and the Bullets held a 5-1 lead going into the fifth.
Brian Cunningham led off the top of the fifth with a solo home run, but despite Nel’s single, DC could add only one run, and it came back to haunt them in the bottom half of the frame. Perhaps a fourth outfielder would’ve made a difference, enabling the Bullets to close on and catch one of a few fly balls that dropped just beyond the reach of Neil and Andrew. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. Adopting a more patient approach at the plate, the Daily Show found pitches to hit, and they hit them hard. Their six-run fifth dropped the Bullets into a 7-6 hole.
Responding quickly to the Daily Show challenge, the Bullets scored twice to go back into the lead in the sixth. Mike singled with one away and moved to second on Adam’s ground out. Andrew’s RBI double tied the game, and Brian followed with a line drive into left to score Andrew for the lead. However, the Daily Show tallied three in the bottom half, taking a two run advantage.
In the seventh, RF Sal Cipriano and Laura laced back-to-back singles to left after a ground out. Neil grounded to the shortstop, who forced Sal at third, but Mike Lorah lined a one-hopper into right field to load the bases with two out. Adam Schlagman followed with a hard single to center, scoring Laura and Neil to tie the game. The Daily Show took back the lead with a single run in the bottom half.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning, and the Bullets went into the ninth trailing by one. Mike led off with a double into center field, and scored on Adam’s line drive to left, but the Bullets couldn’t keep the momentum and had to settle for tying the score. In the last of the ninth, after a leadoff single and a double put the winning run on third base, Mike Lorah got a pop-up to second base for the first out, but the Daily Show seized the victory with a sacrifice fly to center field, securing the 12-11 triumph.
Despite consecutive losses, the DC Bullets’ record stands at 9-3, including 4-2 in the New York Media Softball League. The full team returns to action at 5:30pm this Thursday at North Meadow, Field #2 in Central Park. Bring lots of fluids; it’s gonna be a scorchah.
Defensive shout-outs for Andrew and Neil, each making a couple outstanding running catches to rob hits from Daily Show sluggers; Mike Lorah knocking down a line shot through the middle and completing the play at first; and third baseman Nel Yomtov for his spectacular backhand snare and across-the-diamond throw to steal a base hit.
Despite the setback, the Bullets remain fans of The Daily Show.
With only nine players in the line-up, here’s a total box score:
CF Neil Hiremath – 1-6, R
P Mike Lorah – 4-6, 3 R, double
SS Adam Schlagman – 4-6, R, 3 RBI, double
LF Andrew Arnold – 3-6, 3 R, RBI, double
2B Brian Cunningham – 3-6, 2 R, 4 RBI, home run
C Katie Kubert – 2-5, double
3B Nel Yomtov – 3-5, 2 RBI
RF Sal Cipriano – 2-5
1B Laura Demoreuille – 2-5, R