Penticon won its first Israel Softball Association Men's championship since 2001 with a pair of thrilling extra-inning victories, 6-5 in 8 innings and 9-8 in 10 innings over Ziontours.
The games proved the old adage that pitching and defense wins championships.
Penticon's Ami Baran pitched well and the defense was solid behind him while the offense scratched out runs. Ziontours, on the other hand, had the pitching. New Zealander Aaron Levarko arguably outpitched Baran, but the Ziontours defense was terrible and its ineptitude led to both losses.
Penticon 6, Ziontours 5 (8 innings)
On Sunday, Ziontours jumped out to a 4-2 lead after 3 on back-to-back RBI doubles by Mike Doktofsky and Gil Siegel and an RBI hit from Levarko, with Penticon scoring on a hits by Howie Hirsch hit and Dan Marcus.
Penticon scored the tying runs in the sixth on a botched run-down and a misplayed single to right-field. Meanwhile, Baran (6 strikeouts), shut the door on Ziontours, not allowing a hit after the fourth inning. In the extra inning David Aron lofted a game-winning sacrifice fly to left field. The Fleitman brothers, catcher David and shortstop Benzi were outstanding on defense for Penticon, as was Ziontours left-fielder Blair Portnoy.
Penticon 9 Ziontours 8 (10 innings)
On Tuesday, in a drama filled three and a half hour epic battle, David Aron again knocked in the go-ahead run, this time with a single, and Ron Solomon turned a double play in the bottom half of the frame to shut the door on Ziontours.
In the top of the eighth, Aron's RBI groundout put Penticon in the lead, but Ziontours tied it in their half of the frame on Gil Siegel's sacrifice fly. Both teams scored in the ninth, with Penticon's Daniel Maddy and Ziontours' Blair Portnoy's each knocking in runs.
Top hitters for Penticon were Sam Goldberg, Daniel Maddy and Bentzi Fleitman with two hits a piece and David Aron who drove in three runs. Ziontours was led by Doktofsky and Aviv Yaakov with three hits each.