In 2009, the DC Bullets dropped both regular season games, and a playoff match-up, to the Wall St. Journal (the 2009 New York Media Softball League champions). The Bullets turned the tables with a victory over the Journal in May, and they managed to come out on top against this past Thursday, sweeping the 2010 season series against Wall St. Journal with a thrilling, back-and-forth, extra-inning 12-11 triumph, highlighted by the heroism of Allison Dugas’s clutch two-run hit with the Bullets on the brink of defeat.
In one of the sloppiest softball games ever played, both the Bullets and the Journal made plenty of errors, and even the umpiring had more than a couple suspect moments, but it made for exciting softball. The lead changed hands six times, and the teams ended up playing eight innings to determine the winner.
After a quick and scoreless first by the Journal, CF Neil Hiremath (1-3, 2 R), 3B Mike Lorah (4-5, 3 R), LF Andrew Arnold (4-5, 3 R, 3 RBI, double, HR) and designated hitter LP Vollano (1-2, RBI) singled in sequence to score a run. LF Jay Kogan’s fielder’s choice added a second run, and Doc Lauren Fries – who played a hell of a game at shortstop filling in for the traveling Adam Schlagman – lined a two-out single to left to cap the three-run frame. Lauren finished 3-3, with 2 RBI and a base on balls.
Wall St. Journal charged back into the game, tallying five runs in the second, and might’ve gotten more if not for a strong throw and quick tag on a Journal hitter’s failed attempt to stretch a single into a double. That controversial call went in the Bullet’s favor, but the tables quickly evened when P Joel Press (1-2) was doubled off first base – controversially – on a line drive back to the pitcher, preventing the Bullets from scoring in the second. Wall St. Journal added a run in the top of the third, putting the Bullets in a 6-3 hole.
Last of the third, Lorah and Arnold singled, co-captain and C/OF Sal Cipriano walked (0-1, R, BB), and CF Vince Letterio (1-2, RBI) cashed in a run with a base hit to left. One out later, Lauren and 1B Jerry Cerza (1-2, RBI) added RBI singles to tie the game at six.
The Bullets took back the lead in the fourth, when Lorah singled with two outs, and Andrew Arnold demolished a two-run home run to deep center field. WSJ quickly retied the game with two of their own in the top of the fifth, and the Bullets see-sawed back into the lead in their half-inning, on three successive one-out singles by 3B Adam Staffaroni (1-2, R), Lauren and 2B/0F Brian Cunningham (1-2, RBI).
A three-run sixth, however, gave WSJ a two-run edge. It might’ve been worse if not for Vince Letterio’s diving, sno-cone catch in center field. The bottom of the sixth (Bullets) and top of the seventh (Journal) passed scorelessly, and the Bullets went to their last licks facing a two-run deficit.
After a pop-out, RF Brian Walters (1-2, R) floated a ball just beyond the shortstop’s reach for a base hit, and Lauren worked a walk to put the tying run on first base. Jerry Cerza pushed one to the right side, grounding out to the first baseman, but moving both runners into scoring position. That put the entire game on the shoulders of C/RF Allison Dugas. Working a 2-2 count, down to her last strike, Allison tapped a flare about two feet in front of home plate, and the Journal catcher, attempting to pluck it from the air, touched the ball in fair territory but couldn’t get more than a sliver of leather on the ball. With Allison hustling down the first base line and the throwing lane partially blocked, the throw went wide and into right field. Brian, who nearly ran into the catcher prior to the errant throw, scored and Lauren, never breaking stride, crossed the plate with the tying run moments later. Allison’s big hit gave her a 1-1 day, with 2 RBI and a walk.
The Bullets held the line in the eighth, with Joel Press inducing a routine ground ball to short with two runners on base to squelch the threat. C Katie Kubert (1-2) got the ball rolling for the Bullets in their half, lining a single to center field. Neil Hiremath’s fielder’s choice erased Katie, and Mike Lorah lined out hard to right field for the second out. Andrew Arnold, whose earlier home run bomb forced the Journal outfielders to play as deeply as possible, hit a pitch off the end of his bat, sending it arcing into left center field. The shortstop ran out. The left and right center fielders ran in. And Neil did his best Enos Slaughter impression. In the end, the ball dropped into the Bermuda Triangle out of any WSJ player’s reach, and Neil scored easily to clinch the victory.
With the win, the Bullets’ record stands at 8-1, including a 4-1 mark in the New York Media Softball League. The Bullets play their next game at 5:30pm on Thursday, June 24, against Abrams books on Field #2 in Central Park’s North Meadow. Come on out to see the thrills.
As always, every game against Wall St. Journal is a fun one, and the Bullets always extend their gratitude to the opposition for a blast of a game. Their left fielder also made a nice diving catch, and they came up with their share of big clutch hits to keep that lead changing as often as it did.
Amid the defensive lapses, we must credit Vince’s diving catch, Lauren’s steady shortstop (including two head’s up tags to nail runners stretching for second) and Adam Staffaroni, who snared four line drives at the hot corner.
Otherwise overlooked in this write-up, OF Pat Brosseau singled as part of a 1-2 day, as did CNap, second baseman Christine Napolitano, who also made a nice play on a pop-up into short center field. Despite hitless turns at the plate, credit to first baseman Laura Demoreuille for her rock-steady defense and pitcher Larry Ganem for his unflappable ability to limit the damage done by the opposing offense.