Warriors complete comeback, set to face Optica

Top-seeded Morningside Translations Warriors advanced to the Gezer league softball final.

Gezer Field_311 (photo credit: Jay L. Abramoff)
Gezer Field_311
(photo credit: Jay L. Abramoff)
With a miraculous comeback, the top-seeded Morningside Translations Warriors advanced to the Gezer league softball final Sunday night with a 14-8 win over Ginot Shomron. Looking to avenge last season’s disappointing semifinal exit, the Warriors started out flat against an upstart team, falling behind 8-1 early. Ginot Shomron was already celebrating in the dugout and jeering their opponents.
But the Warriors hung in tight. Pitcher Avi Dzik and his defense dug deep and shut out Ginot Shomron the rest of the way as the offense slowly moved into gear.
The comeback began in the bottom of the 4th, when with two men out and men on 2nd and 3rd, veteran Joe Federman came to the plate and delivered a crucial 2-run double. Two more runs came in to pull the Warriors within two.
In the bottom of the sixth captain Aron Heller broke out of the longest hitting slump of his career with a bases-clearing triple to send his team ahead for the first time. The Warriors then caught fire with eight straight hits in an 8-run inning to surge ahead 14-8 and never look back.
“They made the mistake of getting cocky and letting us fight back,” said Warriors GM Naftali Balanson, who had two hits on the night.
“You come at the king, you best not miss.” With only nine players available, the Warriors needed everyone to chip in and indeed each player hit and scored. Federman (a.k.a. Old Man Joe) was the star, playing a stellar second and going 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and a season-high four RBI’s. First baseman Simon Pack also went 4-for-4.
In the other semifinal Optica International thrashed two time defending champ and heavily favored Rise Hi 19-3.
OI trailed 1-0 before unleashing a barrage of hits and Home Runs off usually reliable starter Eddie Harow to score it biggest victory ever.
Yoni Schwartz hit three home runs with Naftali Schwartz and Yair Gewirtz each going deep as well.
Gewirtz went 4-4 from the ninth spot in the batting order and played a flawless shortstop keying the victory.
Clearly, however, the day belonged to Yoni Schwartz, knocking in a team high six runs against his former team and crushing any chance of a RH comeback.
The OI defense was stellar all night but it was the pitching that really shut down the usually high powered RH offense.
“Taking nothing away from the pitching performance of Danny Gewirtz, but we were a little depleted, missing a few of our starters but hey, they played well and they deserved to be in the finals” stated a somber RH Manager Yitz Atkin.
Earlier in the year Gewirtz had one of his worst outings of his career against RH, giving up 17 runs in four innings, but Sunday night was a completely different story as he virtually shut down RH yielding just four hits and never really allowing them to mount any serious rallies.
“I came in with a game plan to pitch inside and I stuck to it” explained Gewirtz as he kept the RH hitters off balance throughout the game.
The best of three final series between the Morningsid Warriors and Optica International begins Thursday at Gezer.