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Weekly Recap: Top Division set after Team Misgav’s dramatic loss

The Men’s Fastpitch League first round of games is in the books as P.S Sox clinched the fourth and final top division spot after Team Misgav dropped their last two games. On the Women’s side, Fireballs open a 2 game gap at first place after the win over Thunderbirds

Israel Fastpitch Softball is in midseason form as we got to see 6 league games being played this past week (5 men and 1 women). After playing 7 games so far, once against each team, Gezer09, Phoenix, Warriors, and P.S Sox clinched to the Men’s top division as Team Misgav, Cerveceros, Mean Judeans, and Vets will make up our B division. 

Monday’s game between P.S Sox and Phoenix (10.5, 21:00, Gezer) will start a stretch of three weeks of contests as each team will look to improve their positions heading into the playoffs. Until then, here’s a recap of the top games this week:

Men’s Fastpitch League:

P.S Sox (4:2:1) – 7

Cerveceros (2:5) – 5

WP: Nadav Divone (3:2)

LP: Saul Kaim (1:4)

Sox came into the week hoping their dream scenarios will come to fruition, but beforehand they had to secure a road victory over Cerveceros, who’s been giving a hard time to the top seeds. 

Sox fired up the offense in the first inning as Naftali Schwartz‘s sac fly scored the night’s first run. The Reds grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third after Gabriel Rosendo singled off Divone, which brought in 2 of the hosts’ 4 run frame, giving them a 5:3 advantage after 3.

However, with their top division hopes on the line, Yitz Atkin’s squad grabbed the lead for good with three runs in the top of the fourth. Ben Rosenberg led it off with an inside the park solo homer, and Tzvi Harrow took advantage of a Kaim wild pitch to score the go-ahead score. Divone surrendered five runs on six hits but, in the final 3 innings, closed the door with three shutout innings to secure the 7:5 victory.

Warriors (5:1) – 6

Team Misgav (4:3) – 3

WP: Kfir Leon (5:1)

LP: Dan Winnik (3:2)

After last week’s loss to Gezer09, Team Misgav came into the contest in need of a victory over Corey Vyner’s squad to secure a spot in the top 4. On the other end, the Warriors had to ensure a win in their last two games for a run for the title.

The hosts got things moving in the top half of the second inning when Avi Segal drove in Bar Shrem with an RBI double, giving them a 1:0 advantage. Team Misgav got on the board in the bottom of the third as their top hitter, Ben Kantor, hit a two-run home run to center field, taking a 2:1 edge. In the following frame, Aviv Bobrov took advantage of K.Leon’s 2-2 mistake for a solo shot, adding an insurance run for Yaniv Rosenfeld’s unit, 3:1.

The Warriors fought back in the top of the fifth inning, tying the game at 3 after Shrem and Segal drove in K.Leon and Liam Forberg with back-to-back base knocks off of Winnik. Misgav missed multiple chances to retake the lead in the fifth (bases loaded, 0 outs) and sixth inning (first and second, 0 outs) as K.Leon locked in despite the challenging situations. 

With the game tied at three, heading into the 7th inning, K.Leon helped himself out, hitting a solo homer to center field. The Reds weren’t done as the veteran Alberto Tacher singled in Foreberg and Henry Gonzalez Mitrani, the latest addition who joined the northern squad last week from Cerveceros, legged out a fielder’s choice for their third run of the frame.

Team Misgav didn’t give up in the bottom half of the 7th as Yaniv Rosenfeld, Kantor, and Ivri Margolin hit three consecutive singles, bringing up to the plate the winning run with one out. But similar to the last two innings, the Blues couldn’t find the clutch knock as Leon struck out the final two batters to close out the game and clinch a spot in the top 4 while sending Misgav to the bottom division in heartbreaking fashion.

Phoenix (5:1:1) – 4

Warriors (5:2) – 2

WP: Seth Ross (5:1)

LP: Adi Leon (0:1)

After both sides clinched a top 4 position on Thursday night with wins (Phoenix beat Vets 10:0), the teams met on Friday morning at Maor for a head-to-head clash for the second place in the standings heading into the next round of games.

Corey Vyner’s squad grabbed the lead early in the first inning, as Gil Alon hit a line drive to right field, knocking in Adi Leon from second base for a quick 1:0 advantage. At the top of the second, Warriors starting pitcher Kfir Leon had to finish his day on the mound after injuring his knee as his twin brother A.Leon came in to pitch for him. 

In the bottom of the third, Alon came through once again, doubling off Ross, driving in Avi Segal for his second RBI of the day, 2:0 Warriors. After three scoreless frames, the Phoenix bats got it going in the top of the fourth as Nadav Russakov sparked off a 3 run inning with a solo shot as Roye Shelem and Ross followed with RBI singles capturing a 3:2 lead. 

In the top of the sixth, the Purples added an insurance run as Alon Paz drove in Shelem with a sacrifice fly giving the visitors a 4:2 advantage. Ross sealed the deal, pitching a one, two, three frame finishing a strong outing tossing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, and striking out eight.

Side note: Phoenix’s Ross pitched 11 innings this week, allowing two runs (1 earned, 1.00 WHIP) while striking out 16 batters.

Women’s Fastpitch League:

Thunderbirds (3:3) – 6

Fireballs (5:1) – 9

WP: Aly Robinson (3:1)

LP: Adi Baran (1:2)

The top two teams in the Women’s League faced off on Tuesday as Thunderbirds came in as the only team that beat Goose Gillett’s squad this season.

After a scoreless frame by Robinson, the hosts took advantage of Baran’s early command struggles resulting in a 5 run inning, giving the Beit Shemesh squad a 5:0 lead. Alisa Stuchevski came into pitch for Baran, but that didn’t stop the Fireballs from adding on as Robinson single + error by the left fielder brought in Ashley Gerber.

Thunderbirds cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth as Stuchevski drove in Baran, who led off the inning with a triple, and Einav Katz singled in Yael Galpert, 6:3. However, in the bottom of the frame, similarly to the first inning, the Purples pitching woes ruined their chances as the hosts pounced three runs on wild pitches, ramping it back to a six-run ball game, 9:3.

Shira Lloyd came in to pitch for Robinson, and Thunderbirds tried to rally back in the top of the fifth. Stuchevski knocked in Baran with a double, Galpert followed with a triple, later scoring on an error on a ball put in play by Katz. With the tying run at the plate, Lloyd settled down, striking out the final batter to close it out. Fireballs open a 2 game lead in the standings with a 9:6 win over Thunderbirds.