Games We Play: Ziontours take two in ISA action

Ziontours continued its rush towards the Israel Softball Association "Babe Gillett" Memorial Fall Tournament final with a pair of hard-fought wins last week: 6-5 over the Brewers and 10-6 over Crazy Richard. Last Sunday, Ziontours jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Brewers after three innings. Pitcher Aaron Levarko struck out six of the first 10 batters he faced while allowing only one hit, Benny Ruggill hit a two-run homer in the second and Levarko and Tomer Portnoy added RBI singles to lead the way. After Levarko tired in the fourth, the Latino Tel Aviv team fought back as Ozias Kaim's two-run single in the fifth made it 6-2, while pitcher Yehezkel Ganz quieted the Jerusalemites' bats. In the bottom of the sixth and final inning, Julio Mirabal's triple, Eduardo Bradman's RBI single and a throwing error cut the lead to one with no outs and a runner on third. Levarko buckled down, getting a groundout and popout before walking the next two hitters. The Ziontours' hurler then induced the Brewers' top hitter, Alberto Tascher, to pop out to clinch the victory. On Thursday, Ziontours drew first blood on Blair Portnoy's two-run homer over the right field fence in the first, but Crazy Richard took a 4-3 lead on player/coach Ed Freedman's three-run single. However, one of four hits from shortstop Aviv Ya'akov gave the Jerusalemites a lead which was too much for the young Tel Aviv team, which lacks a fast pitcher. Itai Siegel filled in admirably on the mound for Crazy Richard and Nate Rosenberg had a pair of hits and was outstanding behind the plate. Levarko pitched five solid innings for Ziontours with Portnoy relieving for the final two. Penticon and the Galil Twisters face off on Monday night at 9 p.m. at Baptist Village in Petah Tikva in a game that could decide who will play in the final. Penticon, the Twisters and Ziontours all have a chance to reach the final.