Main Line Synagogue Softball League
Beth David 6
The Beth David Bruins gutted out a 6-5 extra innings championship game win at South Ardmore Park on Labor Day, returning the Bruins to the top of the Main Line Shul League after a one year hiatus, and running their conquest to 10 of 11 championship seasons. The eighth seed Aish looking to play Cinderella instead of dark horse were poised for payback after relinquishing and blowing big leads in successive title games to the Bruins in 2010 and 2011.The game had all the hallmarks of pre-game drama, nothing new to this storied rivalry as the day began wet and was in peril of being re-scheduled. Potential darkness for a 5:30 start, a slick outfield and rutty infield lead to a deal to make the game an old school 7 inning affair instead of the season standard nine. As usual the Bruins seemed tight from jump, missing a grand opportunity to put Aish in a hole by having two on and no one out with Rob Pearlstein at bat and money in the bank. He hit a hard line drive out which dashed hope of helping his own cause. Perhaps a precursor to the hitting woes that would further frustrate the Bruins, Robert Shoemaker, the Bruins most seasoned batsman hit a blast, the longest of his career which had HR written all over it, but a nice defensive left field put out ended the hopes of a big first inning. The Bruins however, did make up for their offensive shortcomings by displaying exemplary fielding, especially 3rd basemen Michael Colucciello turning back two smashes destined down the left field line and extra bases.
Aish scored single runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings as the game chugged along with one sparkling defensive play after another by both teams. But the Bruins struggled, leaving men in scoring position, inning after inning and for the first time in 11 seasons were scoreless entering the sixth inning. The momentum was sparked by Aish's pitcher, using an overly deliberate modified high arc motion and release which had the Bruins reeling and mis-timing at bats all evening long, an ingenious strategy that nearly carried Aish to their first title.
With six outs left, the Bruins needed divine intervention (not by hearing the Shofar, which served as a rallying cry in 2010-11) but solid hits, and efficient base running led by Steve Berk who singled to open the sixth followed by a double and single drew the game closer at 3-2 entering the seventh. Pearlstein pitched out of another jam, leaving the Bruins in need of one to tie. Three singles, a sac fly and ground out knotted the game at 3 apiece with a walk off opportunity set for Judd Hollander. But it was not to be, as the Bruins were turned back at the end of regulation.
Pearlstein pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth, as Pearlstein Sr. steadfastly worked the ump from afar, and once again with a chance to end it with runners in scoring position with two out, coach Lucoff hit a hard grounder past the pitcher, but a fine defensive play thwarted the potential winning run. The Bruins had back-to-back walk off chances in the 7th and 8th and now Aish finally got back on the offensive track, aided by a mis-played hit by Margolis, allowing one run in and setting up the second as Aish looked to close it out taking a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
The Bruins now had to come from behind for a third time in the final four innings! No small feat, however clearly deja vu, with successive deficits as large as 8 runs to Aish in their past two title games! With twilight looming over the well worn field and the Bruins dismayed that they had not heard Conquest profoundly played on the shofar by the commanding presence of Gershon, dependable lead-off man Michael Yecies cooly hit a single, sacrificed to second by Eric Zager, followed by a long hard hit ball to left by Pearlstein that was almost caught, and then the big redemption double by Lucas Margolias to set up Springel's short field sac fly to allow the tag up from third to tie the game. With two outs Peter Ochroch was intentionally walked at the urging of a rival sideline shul coach mystic, setting the stage for the crafty veteran Hollander, who promptly went the other way with a brilliant hit to right field. Game over, and the Bruins walk off and steal another title from Aish 6-5, their third in four years.
States coach Lucoff, "I certainly had my doubts today and the whole playoff run was incredulous and surreal. After being embarrassed out the gate by the hapless Chabad, we finished with a flourish and willed our way back on top after a frustrating loss last year to a better Beth Hillel team. But playing from behind to Aish certainly brings out the best in our players, and I am proud beyond words of this veteran team with an average mean age of infinity. Co-MVP's go to Rob and Judd, especially sweet for Judd who had struggled defensively on this field in a past title games. Our three new players, Barry, Jeff Kalimer and Lucas were steady throughout the season and they all got timely hits, and Jeff along with Steve Berk were the only two players to get three hits. Defensively the ageless wonder, Eric Zager had a quietly brilliant game at short, and getting two big hits as did Michael Yecies, and the soulful Dave Wessels caught Rob well with all of his heat and understated drama."
"I congratulate Aish on playing a great game and showing fine sportsmanship, managed by a class guy Murray August. We look forward to next year and hope we won't have two rain outs ahead of seeing them again in the playoffs."
July 31, 2013 - They all say they enjoy the brand of camaraderie that only can be found on the diamond and in dugouts.
July 2, 2013 - Philadelphia and South Jersey area athletes headed to Maccabiah and their families gathered June 30 at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Center City for a send-off party in anticipation of their journey to Israel.
June 17, 2013 - Barbra Streisand on Monday took a swipe at Orthodox Jews in Israel who compel women to sit in the back of buses and assault them for following religious rituals traditionally reserved for men.
May 26, 2013 - Almost overnight, Israel has become a mecca for beer drinkers, offering some surprisingly fine ales, stouts and lagers.
April 30, 2013 - Led by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, Philadelphia's Chabad movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. How have they done it?
May 7, 2013 - Oakland first baseman Nate Freiman has been all over the world in the last eight months, and come a long way -- just ask his mom. (USA TODAY Sports)
May 3, 2013 - It looks like Citron and Rose is about to get some kosher company on Montgomery Avenue.
April 26, 2013 - The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum will celebrate its 16th anniversary by honoring nine individuals at a reception to be held at 5:30 p.m. May 20 at the Gershman Y, Broad and Pine Streets.
March 13, 2013 - While planning what to cook to feed the whole family on Passover’s big seder nights, it’s easy to forget to plan your meals for the rest of the holiday week.
Listen to Bob Dylan's version of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" by clicking on the arrow at the music player below.
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