Softball: Penticon repeats as ISA champs

The Israel Softball Association's 2008 champion was determined over the weekend and Penticon emerged victorious, led by MVP pitcher Ami Baran and a rock-solid defense. Penticon defeated a spirited Dimona Mean Judean team 5-1 on Sunday night to take the best-of-three series 2-1 in front of 200 fans at the Baptist Village sports complex in Petah Tikva. Penticon opened the scoring with two runs in the first when Dan Marcus reached on a single and Mark Mayerfeld and Brian Aron hit sharp balls to score Sam Goldberg and Marcus respectively. Dimona managed its only run in the second after loading up the bases with one out before hitting a pop-fly in the infield to snuff out what looked like it would be a big inning with an interference call. Penticon sponsor Howie Hirsch hit a towering triple to left in the fourth inning and came home on the errant throw. In the fifth inning, with runners Hirsch and Marcus on second and third, Mark Mayerfeld's sacrifice fly scored Hirsch and Marcus scampered home as well when the throw got away from the Dimona defense. Penticon's tireless pitcher Baran, who struck out eight including striking out the side in the seventh, was declared the series MVP. Baran, amazingly, pitched four games in eight days. Dimona's top player for the series was shortstop Elinatan Ben Israel. Penticon won the championship in 2007 and has reached the finals in eight out of the past 10 years. In other ISA news, ISP Tel Aviv defeated the Junior National Women's Team in the women's final, 20-1. Also, the men's national team will be leaving on July 27 for Denmark to participate in the European Championships. In addition, the second annual Dave Lelchook Memorial Tournament will be held Friday, August 8 at Kibbutz Shomrat. Lelchook, an Israel national team player and league all-star in the 1980's, was felled by a Katyusha rocket during the Second Lebanon War two years ago.