Long-time rivals Rise-Hi and Aztek will meet in the amateur softball in Israel series championship after recording victories in last week's semifinals at Kibbutz Gezer.
Aztek 14,Beit Shemesh Suns 8
On Thursday, Aztek recorded the first upset of the postseason to reach the finals for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.
Aztek, which was the No. 3 playoff seed and won its fourth consecutive game over the last two weeks, scored five runs in the third inning on five consecutive hits to take a 7-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Beit Shemesh, the No. 2 seed, had a one-out rally, scoring two, but the Aztek defense came up with a double play to end the inning. Captain and second baseman David Gilor caught a grounder up the middle, stepped on second and threw back to first.
Aztek's offense was led by Chaim Baldasare and Ariel Gilor, who each had three hits and scored three times.
Mike Barth, Naftali Schwartz and Alan Tover had two hits apiece, and pitcher Fred Moncharsh picked up another win.
Rise-Hi 17, CI 6
Rise-Hi has a chance to defend its title following its convincing win over fourth-seeded CI on Wednesday.
With Rise-Hi's Ed Harow on the mound, CI was held scoreless in the top of the first inning and then Rise-Hi - the No. 1 playoff seed - exploded with nine runs in the bottom half of the inning. Beryl Thomas, Moshe Hamburg, Aaron Harow and Chaim Jacobson each drove in two runs, while Ari Harow also drove in a run.
CI's Mike Berman got a triple in the top of the second, but he was left on base. Rise-Hi scored a run in the bottom of the inning as Earl Harow drove in Thomas, but left two runners on base.
The No. 4 playoff seeds got on the scoreboard in their third at-bat when Joe Gitler drove in JJ Sussman and came all the way home on a Rise-Hi error. RH responded with a run in the bottom of the third as Ari Harow bunted for a single, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored on a throw to first base.
CI's Amnon Eisner drove in Shimon Bayer in the top of the fifth inning, after neither team scored in the fourth. Rise-Hi extended its lead to 15-3 in the bottom of the fifth as Dani Harow scored on a bases-loaded walk to Ari Harow; Aaron Harow scored on a passed ball; Ari Harow came home when the CI catcher dropped the ball on a strikeout and had to throw to first to complete the out; and Hamburg hit a sacrifice fly that brought in Josh Harow.
The top of the sixth inning was CI's most productive of the night and just when it looked like it could put together a big inning, Rise-Hi ended the rally at three runs with a double play.
After Chaim Forst, David Jaffe and Shimon Bayer each drove in a run, Sussman's single loaded the bases. Then Gitler hit a line drive to RH second baseman Tzvi Harow, who made a clean catch and throw to SS Jacobson that caught the CI runner off second base.
Rise-Hi scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth as Tzvi Harow drove in Earl Harow, and then Tzvi came home on a CI throwing error to make it 17-6.
Another RH double play in the top of the seventh and the defending series champions were back in the finals.