(photo credit: (Efrat Saar/courtesy))
In the Israel Softball Association playoffs last week, Penticon and Ziontours advanced to the Finals, each winning their series 2-0.
Penticon 13, Tigers 1
On Sunday, the Tigers drew first blood when Shlomi Mor Hayim singled in Mendie Pinchovski who had tripled, but that was all for the Tigers could manage against Penticon hurler Ami Baran. Baran allowed only two singles while fanning four.
Penticon scored early as Howie Hirsch smacked a two-run home run in the first inning and Sam Goldberg knocked in two more with a double. Penticon scored six more runs in the third sparked by David Aron's home run.
The game marked the final appearance of retiring league legend Ari Kanterewicz who appeared in Maccabiah games for both Argentina and Israel. Pitcher Kanterewicz left the field in the sixth to a rousing ovation and was relieved by Goose Gillett.
Penticon 18, Tigers 9
Tuesday's game started in controversy. After Penticon's David Aron led off with a single, Howie Hirsch followed with hit a fly ball that appeared to have been dropped by the right-fielder. The umpires ruled, however, that the ball had been caught. Right afterwards the Tigers appealed first base, completing an unconventional double play.
Penticon still managed to score three in the inning. The Tigers tied it in the third on a Shlomi Mor Hayim single and an error. Netanel Levenson broke the tie in the bottom half with a three-run double and then scored to give Penticon a 8-4 lead.
The Tigers took the lead with a five-run fourth when Amos Pollack hit a three-run triple and scored on Guy Bender's single. Penticon came back with three runs in the fifth on Bentzi Fleightman's 2-run single and an error giving Peticon an 11-9 lead. Tiger pitcher Goose Gillett matched Penticon hurler Ami Baran, but the defense behind Baran was poor, causing a seven-run seventh that put the game out of reach.
Ziontours 8, Dimona 6
On Monday, Ziontours tallied five runs in the first off of Dimona pitcher Yarone Ben Israel and never lost the lead. Ziontours pitcher Aaron Levarko held the Dimona bats scoreless until the fourth, when, due to Ziontours miscues, Dimona come to within 7-5. Dimona threatened in the sixth, but Ziontours' shortstop came up with the defensive play of the game, grabbing a grounder, tagging the runner coming from second and throwing to first for the double play. The Ziontours offense helped out, as each starter had at least one hit. This game was not without controversy as well, when Ziontours' Benny Ruggill lofted a home run over the left field fence but was incorrectly called out for removing his helmet as he rounded second base. Ziontours did not protest, so the call stood.
Ziontours 6, Dimona 4
On Wednesday, Aaron Levarko pitched a magnificent game, striking out four and never letting the Dimona bats get started. Dimona drew first blood with two runs in the first on Ziontours errors.
The Jerusalemites took the lead with a four-run fourth on an RBI double from Blair Portnoy, and a 2-run double from Benny Ruggill, who later scored on Tom Haskell's single. David Epstein closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Right fielder Noam Zwilling made a nice shoe-string catch and threw to second for a double play to squelch a Dimona rally.
The two teams will meet in the Finals on Sunday and Tuesday at 20:00 at the Baptist Village.