MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Gezer does it again
If we thought that the first two games were high quality and that we might have an anti-climax for the third and final game as fatigue, injury and mental tiredness set in, we thought wrong.
This final game has set a standard that all of us hope will be the beginning for even more high level play in the ISA Leagues.
The pitchers settled in quickly and as they each pitched their curve balls, risers, drops and changes, they had 6 [Mishka] and 4 [Nico] strike outs each. In the first two games Mishka registered 10 walks and 16 strikeouts while Nico 6 walks and 21 strikeouts, giving up 10 and 7 hits, 4 runs and 3 runs respectively. We could not have asked for a better Championship series.
As Casey Stengel said "Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice – versa". This was true as the Gezer sticks came alive at the right time and although he pitched a great series with 25 strikeouts, Nico Deu gave up a hard hit ball to Aviv Yaakov to drive in Gezer's two runs, which in the end were the only runs of the final game.
Gezer captain Yaakov had a great series driving in three [the shutout game runs] of the 5 runs that Gezer scored in the series.
The top of the 7th actually had everyone in suspense as the first two Tiger batters , Spira and Mor Haim flied out and grounded out , but then Bobrov walked , Bender , again, hits a hard single. Two men on base and Roye Shelem with a chance to drive in some runs wound up striking out for the final out and a Gezer win.
The Tigers have been contenders for the first place trophy in the past few years and even here they were able to accumulate hits from almost every batter they had come to the plate.
Total of 17 hits [Gezer 11] 12 walks [Gezer 8] was not enough to score more than the 4 runs in game 2. Guy Bender lead the team with 5 hits 1 walk and 2 runs with Roye Shelem just behind him with 3 hits and 2 walks.
Defense on both teams was almost perfect and gave the games that special professional feeling. Boaz Milgram played an exceptional 2nd base for Gezer and we see a lot of potential for him in the future as we do all our young and new players on both teams.
Friends from around the world and in Israel were able to watch the game live [we had three breaks on our connection] and enjoyed being able to sit at home or as we have been informed, at a wedding, and watch the Championships.
We have had a long interesting history of Championships in the ISA and since 1995 we have seen the growth of our teams, players and fans.
The awards ceremony began with the presentation of the B Division Champions, Penticon, who after one year in the B Division will return next season to the A Division.
Second place went to the Tigers, who have for three years straight played Gezer in the Finals.
Gezer, the Champions for the third straight year have been in the finals in the past seven years [ one year as Ziontours] and lost only twice.
The MVP award was given not to one player on Gezer but actually two. Mishka's incredible pitching, with two shutouts and Aviv Yaakov's timely RBI hitting gave Gezer what it needed to win the Championship once more. They both deserved the MVP, but on a personal note, both teams are full of MVP's and brought honor to our sport.
We would like to thank Nico Deu, for coming to play in Israel and show the world that players can come to Israel and play at a good level and enjoy our incredible country.
See you all in the fall season.
WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Junior Tigers take the Championship
An incredible final took place at Gezer between the Junior Tigers against the Fireballs from Bet Shemesh.
The score kept going back and forth before the final result ended 18-13 in favor of the young girls.
Lital Kahn pitched a great game and ended the game with a strikeout. The girls were hitting, running bases and scoring as were the Bet Shemesh team, who never gave up.
At one point it looked like the Fireballs were going to run away with the game but the Tigers kept pushing back with beautiful hitting from Noa Ganon, Rena Ainspan, Yael Gelpart and others.
The Bet Shemesh players kept trying to put the ball in play, as Efrat Yaakov, Adi Kahn and others hit the ball hard and brought in the runs but in the end it was not enough to beat the young team.
The junior team is preparing for their European Championship in Spain and some of the Fireballs are preparing for the World championships in Canada this summer.
See you all Next year!!!!