(photo credit: (Efrat Saar/courtesy))
The Galil Twisters defeated Dimona for the first time ever last week, but it wasn't enough to avoid relegation to the B Pool in the Israel Softball Association.
Galil Twisters 5, Dimona MeanJudeans 1
On Monday, the Twisters broke a seven-year, 19-game losing streak against Dimona by riding the hot arm of Kobi Daya and airtight defense in a matchup of the two top junior pitchers in Israel.
Sixteen-year-old Daya scattered six hits, struck out four, walked two and did not allow an air out until the last inning.
Dimona's Tabai Ben Israel, also 16, pitched well, allowing only four hits, but he issued seven walks, and three errors by the Dimona defense were his downfall.
Veteran Twister coach Yehuda Beinin's strategy of playing small ball worked as the Twisters jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third when they loaded the bases on an error and two infield hits. They scored on a fielder's choice by Josh Friedman and an infield hit by Tomer Molovinsky.
Dimona answered in its half of the inning when Yigahl Ben Israel (3-for-3 on the night) singled in Yehudah Ben Israel.
However, the northerners scored a pair of runs in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk and an error, and another in the fifth on Tim Cummings's RBI single.
Penticon 16, Tigers 2
On Sunday, Bentzi Fleightman started on the mound until Penticon ace Ami Baran could take the field. Baran, who was recently named the coach of the Israel Baseball League's Netanya Tigers, allowed a two-run single to Shlomi Mor Hayim and then proceeded to shut down the Tigers' offense for 62â„3 innings, while striking out 10.
Penticon's 10-run fourth inning broke open a close game. With the score 2-2, Fleightman walked with the bases-loaded. Also in the inning, Daniel Maddy Weitzman and Netanel Levenson hit three-run doubles.
Maddy Weitzman hit for the cycle and drove in a total of six runs, and Dan Marcus was 5-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Ziontours 27,Crazy Richard-ReMax Ra'anana 9
On Monday, the game started well for B Pool's Crazy Richard-ReMax Ra'anana, as center fielder Alon Leichman grabbed a line drive and threw a perfect strike home to nail Benny Ruggill, who had tripled, at the plate, but it was all downhill from there.
The A Pool first-place team from Jerusalem tallied five runs in the first and scored at least three runs in every inning.
Crazy Richard's Nate Rosenberg parked one into the cornfield behind the left-field fence at Kibbutz Gezer off of pitcher Blair Portnoy for a three-run homer to close the gap, but Ziontours' Aviv Yaakov returned the favor with a three-run homer of his own.
Yaakov and Ruggill each had six hits, Gil Siegel had four, Mike Doktofsky hit three doubles and Tom Haskell had an inside-the-park grand slam for Ziontours.
Shimshon Hi-Tech 14, Dawgs 6
On Thursday, Shimshon Hi Tech's pitcher, Sholom Menorah, struck out the first four batters he faced and seven overall, and had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning.
The game featured a true feat of sportsmanship by one of the league's elder statesmen and a true gentlemen, Dawgs first-baseman Lowell Blackman. Shimshon Hi Tech batter Joel Schnitzler pulled a hamstring stretching a single into a double but had to stay in the game because there were no substitutes available.
The next batter, Shem-Tov Shapiro, lined a double to right - one of his four hits - and it looked as if Schnitzler was going to be a dead duck as he hobbled home. However, as the throw came in from right field, Blackman intentionally held the ball, choosing not to throw Schnitzler out, earning the respect of everyone on the field.
"It just seemed like the right thing to do," explained Blackman.
Penticon 14,Dimona MeanJudeans 2
On Thursday, Baran was masterful, whiffing 13 Dimona batters and sending them to their third-straight loss.
Penticon's bats were sharp from the start and the runs came in bunches: four in the first, five in the third and five in the fifth.
Maddy Weitzman continued his tear at the plate going 3-for-4, with three runs and two RBIs. Dan Aronovic added two hits, Howie Hirsch launched a triple and David Aron had an inside-the-park home run. Aron also made an unassisted double play on a line drive to third.
Tigers 13,Crazy Richard-ReMax Ra'anana 7
On Friday, Mor Hayim, the Tigers' big run-producer this season, hit an inside-the-park home run and two singles to drive in four runs. Guy Bender singled, doubled, tripled and knocked in two runs and Gilad Lazar went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to back the solid pitching of Ari Kanterewicz.
The Tigers' win officially clinched another year in the A Pool for them and relegated the Twisters to the B Pool.