Games We Play: Softball

Softball juniors finish fourth at European Championships.

Israel took fourth place at the European Junior Men's Fast-Pitch Softball Championship in Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, which was held over the past week. The young team's inexperience showed in a rain-delayed 11-8 loss to Slovakia on Thursday. Roy Abu's single tied the game at eight, but walks hurt Israel and the offense couldn't come back after the seven-hour rain delay. Oren Litz was great at third and Itai Siegel and Moshe Hyde each scored a pair of runs. Later on Thursday, Israel fielded its subs against the powerful host team and Michael Marunov pitched a decent game. Dani Mola scored when the defense threw away Hyde's grounder. Hyde also tripled. Naheer Ben-Israel played a great shortstop, turning a double play on a line drive. In the third place game on Friday, Israel lost 12-5 to Slovakia. The pitching and defense were the difference, as each team had five hits, but Israel pitcher Tabahie Ben-Israel walked too many and the defense muffed several easy plays. Etai Mayerfeld had a key single in a big four-run inning, but it was not enough. Litz again was solid at third base and Jake Miller was a rock at home, surviving two collisions for the outs. In a consolation game versus Croatia on Saturday, Israel finally put together a complete team win, 22-15. The defense only made two errors, pitcher Shlomi Dahan kept his team in the game and the offense banged out eight hits, including a pair of big two-run singles by Abu and a triple by Ayal Mozes. Marunov reached base five times and scored three times and Miller scored four runs. Hyde was super at shortstop.