(photo credit: Jay L. Abramoff)
The Beit Shemesh Suns and Rise Hi advanced to the Jerusalem Softball League finals Tuesday night with impressive semifinal victories.
Beit Shemesh surprised the top-seeded Morningside Translations Warriors 21-8 and will now play for the championship for the first time in franchise history. The Suns will face perennial powerhouse Rise Hi, which edged Optical International 19-15 in the early game on Tuesday at Kibbutz Gezer.
Fifth-seeded Beit Shemesh got off to a great start in the nightcap, scoring eight runs in the top of the first and never looking back. Max Schwartz was the spark plug that ignited the Suns, with four hits, four stolen bases, three RBIs and four runs scored.
Catcher Herman Weiss was a dominant force behind the plate, gunning down a runner in the first inning, while also leading the the team in slugging, going 4-5 with two doubles, a triple and a home run.
Lavey Freidman had another great outing for the Suns, with three hits, three runs and two RBIs.
Aaron Cohen chipped in with a pair of hits and made several brilliant catches. Andre Isaacson pitched another masterful game – overpowering the hitters and fielding any ball within his reach.
Daniel Heller led the Warrior offense, capping a torrid end to his season, going 4-4 at the plate. Joe Federman went 4-5 and catcher Matt Churchill drove in three runs for a Warrior offense that was missing some of its top bats.
“This is an extremely disappointing end to such a successful season," said manager Aron Heller, who went 3-4 at the plate.
“We picked the wrong game to have an off-night and it just seemed as if we couldn't catch a break and everything went their way. Regardless, the better team won tonight and we’re going to have to just rearm and regroup for next season.”
In the first game, Rise Hi defeated the surging Optical International team by four runs in a contest that really could have gone either way.
The game was a see-saw battle until the sixth inning when RH broke it open scoring nine runs.
The key hits for Rise-Hi were a bases-clearing triple by Yisrael Rappaport and a three-run HR by Ariel Gilor.
Earlier in the game Tzvi Harow hit a two-run HR for Rise Hi to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the second.
In addition to his HR, Harow went 5-5 with five RBI’s.
Rappaport went 3-5 with a pair of three-baggers while Josh Harow had a
great defensive game in right field, making two spectacular catches to
rob OI hitters of extra-base hits.
Ed Harow picked up his 12th win of the season on the mound.
OI had won seven of its previous eight games coming in and looked ready for the upset before RH had its big inning.
Josh Wajcman was the hitting star for OI, going 4-5 with a two-run HR,
while Kenny Zweibel also belted a two-run shot for the losers.
Pitcher Danny Gewirtz looked strong for five innings before tiring in the sixth and allowing Rise Hi’s big frame.