Games We Play: Softball

Dave Lelchook’s diamond legacy

baseball 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
baseball 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Fourth Annual Dave Lelchook Memorial Softball Mini-Tournament will be held on Friday at Kibbutz Shomrat. Dave was killed by a Katyusha rocket outside his home on Kibbutz Saar during the Second Lebanon War.
Guests of honor at the tournament will be Dave’s widow, Estie Lelchook, his daughters, Michal and Yael, as well as Doris Lelchook, his mother, and Alex and Judy, his brother and sister.
The tournament has assumed a special character over the years, bringing together members of Israel’s softball community for a day of remembrance and fellow emotions. Dave was an Israel National team player in the late 1980s.
A Cornell University graduate, Dave had many sides to him. As a cleanup hitter and catcher, he played softball with the heart and toughness consistent with his background as a Golden Gloves boxer back in the Boston area where he grew up. He was an animal lover, taking in and then finding homes for abandoned dogs.
He carried surplus fruit and vegetables from the orchards and fields of Kibbutz Saar to needy families in nearby Nahariya.
Ron Blumenthal, a 28- year-old from Eilat, makes the trip each year all the way to Shomrat to play in the tournament.
“I wait all year for the tournament. It is an opportunity to honor Dave’s memory. I didn’t know him, but I can see in faces of the older participants who played with Dave what he meant to the league and to his teammates,” Blumenthal said.
Howie Litz, Israel’s longtime senior umpire and a former teammate of Dave’s on the Israel National Team concurred.
“It’s important to us to pay tribute to Dave. The tournament is also a great opportunity for players from around the league to come together and play ball in this special atmosphere of camaraderie and cooperation.”
Players representing the nine Israel Softball Association teams are divided into three teams for the mini-tournament.
Rivals during the softball season are teammates during the mini-tournament.
Players are requested to come to the tournament in their ISA team uniforms and to arrive at 10:15 for warmups and to be divided into the three tournament teams.
Players and spectators are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs.
The games will begin at 11 a.m.