Philip Stein’s Sox won their first ever Jerusalem Post Softball League championship last week, beating two-time defending champs Optica International in a hard fought 13-12 battle in the rubber match of the best-of-three final series.
The game at Kibbutz Gezer opened with OI scoring single runs in the first and second innings and the Sox finally getting on the board in the third inning with a four-run outburst.
Ron Gorodetzer led off the barrage with a single, followed by hits from Ariel Gilor, Tzvi Harow and Alan Tover.
Yisrael Rappaport drove in a pair runs with another hit and then scored on Seth Gerson’s single for a 4-2 lead.
After OI answered with two runs in the fourth inning, the Sox scored another four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a seemingly commanding lead.
Tover led off with his third hit of the day and, following singles by Rappaport and Chaim Jacobson, Avi Ettinger had a huge hit to knock in another pair of runs .
The Sox seemed to be in complete control as Gorodetzer shut down OI in the top of the fifth and sixth innings while his team added on three more runs in the sixth on a two-run home run by Tover and a run-scoring double by Jacobson.
With a comfortable seven- run lead and OI batting in the seventh inning, Gorodetzer began to tire and OI banged out four consecutive hits and a walk to chip away at the lead.
OI loaded the bases with one out and power hitter Aryeh Bauman hit a dramatic grand slam to give OI a onerun lead.
Gilor came in to pitch for the Sox and got the third out, meaning the Sox trailed 12-11 and had only three outs remaining.
With one out, Gilor bunted safely to reach first base and moved to second on a ground out.
Down to their final out, Harow lined a single to score Gilor and tie the game.
Not to be denied, Tover lined his fifth hit of the game to move Harow to second and clutch hitter Rappaport then lined a ball to right field that the OI outfielder made a great diving attempt to catch. However, the ball rolled under his glove, allowing Harow to score the winning run to give the Sox their first championship .
The game was proceeded by sirens and a few Iron Dome missiles. Immediately after the game, a large barrage of rockets were fired south of Tel Aviv and in the Gezer regional council, forcing the players to take shelter for a number of minutes.
With the victory, Sox sponsor Philip Stein became the first person to back teams which have won both the AFI flag football title and the Jerusalem Post Softball League championship.