The Israel Association of Baseball’s Premier League spring season has begun. Teams from Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Modi’in and the Junior National Team will be playing on Tuesday and Thursday nights under the lights at the Baptist Village field in Petah Tikva.
In action last Thursday, Modi’in claimed its first victory of the new season, beating the Ra’anana Raiders 6-5.
Missing some of the team’s key regulars, several players in this 17s-and-above league stepped up to fill unfamiliar positions.
Modi’in’s starting pitcher Nachman Siegel − a new player on the team − was relieved by team catcher Noam Markose in the bottom of the 4th inning. Markose had not even practiced pitching since last season, yet opened with a 1-2-3 inning.
Filling in for Markose as catcher was Tomer Moskowitz, though he had not caught since his Little League days in the previous millennium. The players were up for the challenge as they hustled onto the field in their new roles, and battled the Ra’anana Raiders with everything they had.
By the bottom of the second, the Raiders were leading 2-0, but after John Braxton − starting pitcher for the Raiders − allowed Modi’in a run in the top of the 3rd, he was quickly replaced by Yoandry Gil-Levi.
The pitching change did not prevent Modi’in from scoring more runs. After Moskowitz’s initial run off a wild pitch from Braxton, Siegel was walked by Gil-Levi and brought home by a triple from Nachum Twersky. Twersky, reaching home on another wild pitch from Gil-Levi, gave Modi’in a 3-2 lead at the top of the 3rd.
After Ra’anana gained two more runs in the 4th, Modi’in shot back with a run by Markose to tie the score at the top of the 5th, but the Raiders pulled ahead with another run in the bottom of the 6th, leading 5-4.
With only one more inning to go, Modi’in stepped it up another notch in the top of the 7th. Markose brought the score to a tie early in the inning, while Siegel brought in the winning run off an RBI by Tonny Schwarzmer. The Raiders were unable to catch up Modi’in as they took the plate one last time, and Modi’in reveled in their first win of the season.
In baseball action next week, Modi’in will face the Junior National Team on Tuesday at 7:15 P.M., while Tel Aviv and Ra’anana will meet for a rare day game at 10 A.M. on Thursday.
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