TA lightning 298.88.
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Daniel Kaufman nearly threw a no-hitter, and Raul Franco led the offensive charge as the Tel Aviv Lightning (8-2) tamed the Netanya Tigers (3-5) 5-1 at the lid lifter of Sportek Field in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Kaufman (2-1) had a no-hitter going through six innings, when he gave up a pinch hit home run to Tiger Julio Guerrero, the brother of MLB's recent home run derby champion Vladimir. Kaufman struck out nine over his six plus innings of work, and his secret was to stick with his regular routine:
"I'm not doing anything different then any other day," said the right hander from Marietta, Georgia. "The defense was real good today. I know that if I throw strikes, my defense will come through for me. It's a good feeling to have when you need to get through those tough innings."
An example of Tel Aviv's sterling defense is when third baseman Nate Fish made a diving stop of a Rafael Rojano line drive, and threw him out from his knees to end the top half of the fourth inning.
Tel Aviv scored two unearned runs in the second inning off of losing pitcher Justin Prinstein (1-2) to take a 2-0 lead.
Franco and Matt Brill hit back to back solo home runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Those were the first two homers in Sportek history. Franco added an RBI single in the sixth, and he was just out there to make some good contact with the ball:
"I'm just out there to make good contact," Franco said through a translator. "We played pretty well today, the pitching was key today and we had good defense."
Guerrero got the lone Netanya hit with his big fly in the seventh as the Lightning downed the Tigers in Tel Aviv.
Ra'anana 4, Petah Tikva 2
The Ra'anana Express defeated the Petah Tikva Pioneers 4-2 at Yarkon Field in Petah Tikva Tuesday night in front of a crowd of just 100 fans. Petah Tikva took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two run double by Dustin Melanson, but after that their offense came to a screeching halt and was scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Ra'anana provided the fans with much excitement with two home runs to come back from an early deficit. Juan Ramirez blasted a solo home run, putting the Express first on the board. Donnie Mott jr. added his own fireworks with a two run homer lifting his team ahead of Petah Tikva 3-2.
Express Manager Leo Vargas was pleased with his team's performance. "We have been working hard on our fundamentals, and it is starting to show", he said.
Petah Tikva suffered its tenth lost of the season and remains in last place in the overall standings with just one win. Veteran Petah Tikva Manager Ken Holtzman appeared frustrated with his team's play, especially by the amount of stolen bases allowed.
The game was stopped during the middle of the game because the Ra'anana manager disputed the official lineup given by the Petah Tikva manager. After ten minutes, Petah Tikva admitted there was a lineup error and changed the batting order.
Beit Shemesh 6, Modi'in 4
The Beit Shemesh Blue Sox stayed two games ahead of Tel Aviv with a 6-4 victory over the Modi'in Miracle at Gezer Field.
Modi'in went up 1-0 in the first inning off a homerun from first baseman Aaron Levin. Following that run, however, Biet Shemesh pitcher Jason Benson would settle down and not allow another run until the seventh inning.
Benson let the offense take care of the rest as Californian Gregg Raymundo hit a three-run double in the second. Also adding some offense was Australian outfielder Jason Rees who went 2-4 on the night with a two-run homer in the seventh, his league-leading eighth home run of the season.
In the bottom the seventh Modi'in leftfielder Moko Moanaroa put the Miracle within two runs with a three-run shot, but it was not enough as manager Art Shamsky's club drops to 5-5 on the season. The loss puts the Miracle five games behind the Blue Sox.