(photo credit: )
The Israel Softball Association men's fast-pitch softball league held its season-opening game in Eilat for the first time on Saturday.
The A Division Galil Twisters defeated the host Eilat Flames of the B Division 13-9 in eight innings. The game was tied 5-5 after the seven regulation innings.
Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevy was on hand to throw out the traditional first ball at the Eilat Municipal Football Stadium and stuck around long enough to see Twister leadoff hitter Micah Winston bunt for a single and motor around to third base on the ensuing throwing error before coming home on Jake Miller's groundout for a 1-0 lead.
The Northerners stretched the lead to 5-0 in the third when Winston again singled, went to third on a single by Moshe Hyde and scored on the back half of a double steal. After a walk to Miller, Eitan Milgram smashed a three-run homer to left off of pitcher Jeremy Shai.
Twister veteran pitcher Bill Arscott (four strikeouts, zero walks) was masterful, yielding only one run to the feisty young Southerners through six innings on Albert Sarkovich's home run to right in the fourth.
Down to their last three outs, the Flames rallied. Ron Blumenthal, Elia Mizrachi and Hirofumi Goto singled to make it 5-2 before Sarkovich crushed a monstrous three-run homer over the light post in left field to tie it.
The Twisters began the eighth inning with the last batter of the seventh inning, Don Weintraub, on second base, according to official softball tie-breaker rules. Winston was safe on a bunt single and then Hyde laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt for the lead. Miller followed with a two-run triple to left and the floodgates opened. A series of walks, wild pitches and an RBI single by Weintraub led to an eight-run inning and a presumably insurmountable lead.
Down by eight, the Eilat squad wasn't finished. With two outs and runners at the corners, Mizrachi singled in a run, Hirofumi tripled in a pair and Sarkovich singled for his fifth RBI of the game and a 13-9 score.
However, catcher Jake Miller's throw to his brother, Louie, at second base caught a Sarkovich steal attempt for a thrilling finish.