Softball: AFI, CleanTech coast in playoff openers

CleanTech hammered out 25 hits over five-plus innings in their contest before the mercy rule was imposed.

softball 88 (photo credit: )
softball 88
(photo credit: )
The CleanTech Warriors romped Optica International 22-7 in the franchise's first-ever playoff game at Gezer on Thursday, setting up a semifinal matchup with Table-to-Table. In last week's other first-round matchup, fourth-seeded AFI easily took care of Beit Shemesh 21-6 behind another impressive outing from ace Danny Gewirtz and a four-hit, four-run performance from first-baseman Ami Bogot. The football boys now face defending champs RiseHi - who went 13-1 in the regular season to earn a postseason bye - in Sunday's other semifinal game. CleanTech hammered out 25 hits over five-plus innings in their contest before the mercy rule was imposed after a Daniel Heller walk-off single in the bottom of the sixth. Joe Federman and Matt Brenner led a balanced CleanTech attack with four hits apiece. Federman, the leadoff hitter, scored four times and Brenner came a homer short of hitting for the cycle. Avi Dzik and Jack Jacobovitch each had three hits and scored four times and Jacobovitch led CW with four RBI's. Nisan Hirsh and Aron Heller also collected three hits apiece for CleanTech, who scored in all but one inning. Yomi Groner staked his claim as one of the league's greatest pinch hitters, coming off the bench to go 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI's. Pitcher Meir Goldberg held an understaffed OI team in check, keeping their all-star slugger Aaron Lazor off the base paths. AFI's bats came alive in the bottom of the second inning of their semifinal victory. Nursing a one-run lead, the AFI offense broke out for seven straight two-out hits to turn a 2-1 pitchers' duel into a 7-1 feast. Additional runs were tacked on in each ensuing frame until the mercy rule was finally enforced in the sixth. The super-intense Gewirtz pitched four innings of four-hit, two-earned-run ball, striking out a pair and without a walk. Old-schooler Steve Leibowitz came in for two solid innings of mop-up work as each of the 11 batter who came to the plate for AFI had a hit and either a run, an RBI or both in the lopsided triumph.