Games We Play: Rise Hi nips CleanTech 5-4

The veteran Rise Hi squad nipped the upstart CleanTech Warriors 5-4 to remain undefeated and in first place, in a back-and-forth, heartstopping, extra-inning, controversial thriller at Gezer on Friday. Rise Hi jumped out to a two-run lead in the second inning when Dani Harow doubled home Naftali Shwartz and Earl Harow. In a classic pitcher's duel between Rise Hi's Ed Harow and CleanTech's Jonathan Bendheim, it would remain that way until the top of the fifth when Dave Gerber knocked in Aron Heller to cut the lead in half and break an 11-inning scoreless slump for CleanTech against Rise Hi. It was still 3-2 CleanTech in the bottom of the seventh, when with the bases loaded, two outs, and two strikes on the batter, Bendheim threw a wild pitch. CleanTech Catcher Dave Fain scrambled to the ball, tossed it to a covering Bendheim who was railroaded by Earl Harow at the plate. The collision knocked the ball loose, tying the ballgame. Bendheim had the wind knocked out of him, but recovered, and with mud still stuck between his teeth, struck out the batter for the final out, sending the game into extra innings. After a scoreless eighth, which included a gamesaving grab in right by Weisman, CleanTech went ahead in the ninth on a clutch, two-out Nosson Mandel single and steal and then came home on Gerber's second RBI single of the game. But the lead would not last for long. Bendheim hit Naftali Shwartz to lead off the inning and Alan Tover followed with a double. Earl Harow followed with a single to center. Shwartz scored easily from third but Gerber in center fielded the ball cleanly and fired a perfect strike to the plate. Fain got it on one hop, put down the tag just as Tover slid into homeplate and the ump called him ... safe. Game over! 5-4 Rise Hi. "That was a great game, one of the best we have been involved in a long time," said Rise Hi Manager Yitz Atkin. For Rise Hi, Earl Harow went 3-for-3 with runs scored and Tover had 2 hits. Ed Harow improved to 5-0 on the mound. For CleanTech, Gerber led the way, going 3-for-4 and 2 RBIs. Avi Dzik and Joe Federman also had two hits apiece. Table to Table improved its record to 6-1 with a 9-3 trouncing of Beit Shemesh Monday night. T2T scored all their runs in the first two innings, capped by Dan Harelick's first inning three run homer and Mike Berman's three run shot in the second inning. Harelick finished the game 3 for 4 and Berman contributed 5 RBIs. T2T hurler Marc Bodner stayed in command by frustrating opposing batters with a combination of fastballs and change-ups and the T2T defense thwarted every Beit Shemesh rally and left numerous BS runners stranded in scoring position. Highlights were first baseman Berman's throw to nail a BS runner at home to end the first inning, catcher Dave Kaplan's pick-off of a BS runner at first to end the second inning, Amnon Eisner's uncannily accurate throw on the fly from deep center field to the plate with BS runners at second and third, and Ariel Gilor's overall excellent play at shortshop. Beit Shemesh pitcher Andre Isaacson settled down after the second inning but the damage had been done.