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Ra’anana and Jerusalem Triumph in Season Openers

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Ra'anana topped Bud's Boys Modi'in 9-6 in the opening game of the fall season of the Israel Baseball Association's Premier League on Sunday, and the Jerusalem Lions devoured the Tel Aviv Comrades on Tuesday, 7-2.

Leadoff man Albert Levy started the scoring for Modi’in in the first inning after reaching on a walk, stealing second, advancing to third on a passed ball and scampering home on an RBI groundout by Sammy Tover. Ra'anana quickly countered with four runs in the bottom of the first, also taking advantage of several walks and passed balls. Hadar Sugarman contributed a key hit for Ra'anana in his Premier League debut.

Modi'in added another unearned run in the second to close the gap to 4-2 and scored a third run in the third inning when Tover lined a double down the left-field line, driving in Noam Markose. Ra'anana's Orr Gottlieb relieved starter John Braxton in the fourth and shut down Modi'in for the next three innings, striking out six and allowing only an infield hit to Pasha Ryabtsev.

Ra'anana increased its lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the third, with Yaniv Rosenfeld's booming triple to left-center driving in two runs. By the top of the last inning, Ra'anana enjoyed a 9-3 lead, but Modi'in battled back to score three runs in the bottom of the inning. Player-coach Josh Weiss, pitching in relief, was able to end the Modi'in comeback bid by getting Binyamin Mor to ground out with the bases loaded.

Defensive highlights of the game included long runs for popups by catchers Yoav Halper (Ra'anana) and Markose (Modi'in), and a perfect cutoff relay from Pasha Ryabtsev to his brother Dima to nail a Ra'anana runner at the plate.

Lions are kings

On Tuesday, Jerusalem’s solid defense and timely hitting led the Lions to its 7-2 victory over the Tel Aviv Comrades. Lefty pitchers Avi Watson and Yehuda Joffe mowed down Tel Aviv's hitters, allowing only four hits in seven innings. Tal Erel, Tel Aviv's starter, took the loss. 

The game was tight in the early going, with Watson throwing three scoreless innings for Jerusalem and Erel tossing two scoreless frames. In the bottom of the third, however, Jerusalem broke away: A base hit by Asaf Rothem and a double by third baseman Nate Fish set the stage for Nuriel Golan's two-run single. The Lions added three more runs in the fifth. Tel Aviv scored two runs in the sixth, after a leadoff double by shortstop Noam Calisar, but the Lions scored again in the bottom of the inning and Joffe finished a scoreless seventh, completing four innings and giving up two runs.

In action next week, Tel Aviv will get another chance to tame the Lions on Sunday, while Modi’in will seek to avenge its loss to Ra’anana in a rematch on Tuesday. All games are played at the Baptist Village field in Petah Tikva, with the first pitch at 7:15 P.M.

Tel Aviv's Tal Erel running home for a score against Modi'in catcher Ariel Applebaum as umpire Howie Osterer looks on, Tuesday, May 14, 2013.Credit: David Bachar

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