Optica International provided one of the biggest upsets of the amateur softball in Israel season on Friday. OI, plagued all season by injuries and inconsistent hitting and fielding, defeated defending champion Aztek 9-6 at Kibbutz Gezer on the last day of the regular season and eliminated Aztek from playoff contention.
On offense, five of Optica's first six batters in the lineup - Matt Churchill, Adam Rich, Binyamin Kaffel, Jay Abramoff and Steve Harvey - each had two hits.
Left fielder Aaron Katsman caught everything that was hit in his vicinity, while Churchill neutralized AZ threats twice by throwing out two Aztek batters from behind the plate: one to Harvey at third, and one to Kaffel at second.
Pitcher Fred Moncharsh picked up the victory with another fine outing.
Aztek had a 4-3 lead after three innings, but Optica tied it in the fourth and took a slim 6-5 lead going into the last inning. Four straight hits by Katsman, Abramoff, Harvey, and Moncharsh made it 9-5, and OI held on for the victory.
For Aztek, Ariel Gilor had two hits, including a long leadoff triple off the top of the fence in left.
Kol wins Holyland Series semis
With bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the last, Kol Contacts captain Mo Sherman delivered a perfectly placed infield hit, to win the Holyland Series semifinals game in dramatic fashion.
Kol Contacts won the nail-biter 4-3 in front of hundreds of boisterous fans, including a pots-and-pans-wielding orchestra in the Stevie's Boys cheering section.
Kol Contacts will now face Drimark in the Holyland Series Championship, Saturday night at Kraft Family Stadium.
While Drimark was widely considered the top team in the league, Kol Contacts earned the number one playoff seed thanks to a defeat suffered by Drimark while playing without their ace pitcher Tzvi Mandel.
Mandel, still nursing a knee injury, was listed as "questionable", adding intrigue to the championship showdown.