In one of the best championship games played in recent memory, Optica
International defeated the Morningside Warriors 17-13 to win the 2012 Jerusalem
Softball league title on Wednesday night at Kibbutz Gezer.
four lead changes and two tie scores during the back-and-forth contest before OI
broke out in the top of the seventh with an eight-run barrage and cruised to its
The underdog OI team was once again paced by the
red-hot Yoni Schwartz (Playoff MVP), who hit his seventh postseason HR, a huge
three-run blast to put OI up by five in the final frame.
They would go on
to score three more runs in the inning to give them the cushion they would need
to secure the victory and kick off the celebrations.
“It was just a great
game to be part of,” exclaimed a jubilant pitcher Danny Gewirtz after the
“We picked a perfect time to play our best game of the year and we
needed to against a very tough MW squad,” added the 51-yearold pitcher as he
celebrated along with his son Yair, who went 4-for-6, stole three bases and
scored three runs.
The Warriors hit four home runs on the night – a
two-run shot in the first inning by slugger Nossie Jacobovitch, a dramatic blast
in the fifth by Chaim Schon that tied the game and a pair of two-run homers by
Yanky Itzkowitz and Simon Pack, respectively, in a last-gasp comeback
But the team was ultimately doomed by just many errors in the
field. At the plate, the Warriors stranded 10 men on base and could only muster
five runs beyond their homers.
OI, in contrast, was solid in the field
and got timely hits when they needed them.
The Warriors have had the best
record in the league two years running, and hadn’t lost two games in a row over
this entire period.
“It’s heartbreaking, really, because we had such an
amazing season and the championship was there for the taking,” said Morningside
Manager Aron Heller.
“We were the best regular season team in the league
this season but at the end of the day, in a three-game series, we were just beat
by a better team. It’s that simple.”
Schon, Itzkowitz and Pack each has
three hits for the Warriors. Schon led the way, driving in four runs, scoring
three and making a spectacular grab in center over the fence that robbed OI
slugger Aaron Lazor of a sure home run.
Other hitting stars for OI
included Naftali Schwartz, Yedidya Rausman, Aaron Katsman and Lazor, who all had
three hits apiece. Rausman also had a trio of RBI’s and scored three
It was certainly a Cinderella season for OI who were not expected
to contend for the title but kept peaking at the right time and somehow came
back from one game down to win the next two against the heavily favored
For Rausman, Katsman and Lazor, it was their first championship after
many years in the league. With all of their core players slated to return next
season, OI will be looking to add to its first-ever JSL title.