The story of Tuesday’s game between the DC Bullets and Vanity Fair must unquestionably be the pitching of Larry Ganem. Larry retired the first seventeen VF hitters in a row, and in the end, retired Vanity Fair in order in six of seven innings. Mixing speeds and locations, Larry kept the opposition off balance all night, generating a series of routine groundballs and popups, many of which Larry fielded himself – a real indication of how effectively he pitched.
The Bullet hitters didn’t have one of their better games, but with Larry working his mojo from the mound, they didn’t have to. They scored plenty to come away with an 8-3 win.
DC took a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first, with centerfielder Neil Hiremath’s double and, one out later, a line drive single by shortstop Adam Schlagman (3-4, 2 R, RBI). Neil went to third on the hit, and took advantage of an inattentive defense to dart home for an early lead. A single by leftfielder Andrew Arnold set up Pat Brosseau (2-4, R, RBI), the rightfielder, for an RBI base hit, and utility stud Joel Press’s sacrifice fly tallied the third.
Despite one-out singles by SCF Brian Walters (1-3) and catcher Allison Dugas (1-3), the Bullets came away empty in the second, and they failed to capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity in the third, after Adam, Joel and 2B Christine “CNap” Napolitano (2-4) all singled.
In the fourth, with Larry Ganem and Neil (2-4, R, double) on base, third baseman Mike Lorah (2-4, R, RBI, double) came through where he hadn’t in the second inning, driving in a run with a two-out line single into left field. Vanity Fair, however, limited the damage when their leftfielder made an outstanding catch on Adam Schlagman’s deep drive just moments later.
Two more runs crossed in the fifth and sixth innings each: Pat and Joel’s one-out singles set up clutch two-out RBI base hits from first baseman Sal Cipriano (1-4, RBI) and Larry. In the sixth, Mike doubled to right center with two out and scored on Adam’s single. Adam took second on the throw and came home on Andrew’s (2-4, R, RBI) base hit.
And while these highlights were occurring for the Bullet hitters, Larry Ganem (2-4, R) just kept getting soft comebacker after soft comebacker. To be a fair, a few balls were hit hard. Andrew hauled in everything hit to left, and Larry snared two balls that seemed ticketed for center field. Adam, Mike and CNap handled all their chances cleanly; Joel pulled in a running catch while short center; and Pat tracked down a high fly in right field. After five perfect innings, Vanity Fair’s lefty-swinging leadoff hitter tried to beat the shift, slapping a flare toward shallow left. However, with a leaping, backhand stab, Mike Lorah took the hit away. A routine ground ball to Adam made it two away in the sixth inning. But it takes a whole lot of luck to be perfect, and Larry’s perfect game effort ended when Vanity Fair’s number three hitter smacked a hard grounder down the third base line, just underneath the glove of a diving Mike.
Excited over their base hit, Vanity Fair seized the moment, pushing across three runs before the Bullets closed out the inning. In the seventh, it was more vintage Ganem, with a bouncer back to the mound and a routine groundball to shortstop. And, fittingly enough, Larry ended it with one final comebacker, fielded it cleanly, and tossed to Sal for the final out.
The DC Bullets record stands at 12-3 overall, including a 5-2 mark in the New York Media Softball League (good for a three-way tie for first place, last I looked). With games on sequential nights, their game against The Nation will be over before this game summary is posted.
Thanks for Vanity Fair for hosting the Bullets on their field permit, and for hanging around and playing a few extra innings for the fun of it.
Joel Press played super-utility, filling in during various innings at first base, short center, center field and third base. His 3-3 day included a run scored, an RBI, a double, a sacrifice fly, and four balls struck hard, making him the hitting star of the game.
It was an all-Ganem affair Tuesday night. Credit to Mike and Joel for two nice plays in support, but Larry made sure nearly everything Vanity Fair put in play turned into a routine chance for the fielders.