Fridays’ game between the Tel Aviv Comrades Juniors, winners of the 2014 Juniors Championship, and the Ra’anana Tel Mond Raiders, last year’s runners up, was the first time these two teams have met since June’s one-sided game. But with several of the Comrades’ elite players having aged out of the league, it was the Raiders that came into this game as the favorite. They didn’t disappoint, pulling off a 24-7 rout.
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With Asaf Lowengart on the mound for the Comrades, and Freddy Bain for the Raiders, the game started out as a close race, with no runs from either side in the first two innings. At the top of the third inning, the Raiders started to put some runs on the board, with a two-run RBI double from Hadar Sugarman, RBI base hits from Ami Shapiro and rookie Yonatan Ziering, and a line drive from Yishai Freund for the Raiders to end the inning up 5-0. The Comrades came back with vengeance, taking advantage of Raiders’ rookie pitcher Natan Bash. A series of walks gave the Comrades five runs, and a powerful line drive to right field from Lowengart brought in another, giving the Comrades a one-run lead.
Lowengart gave up one more run in the top of the fourth, allowing the Raiders to equalize. After Yehuda Freund pitched a scoreless half inning, at the top of the fifth the Raiders started hitting strongly against Comrades pitcher Omri Toubal, with a doubles from Yaniv Ezra and Sugarman, and base hits from the Freund brothers and Shapiro. This ended the half inning with the Raiders ahead 10-6. In the bottom of the fifth, after Freund allowed two walks, Ziering fielded an impressive double play. Lowengart brought in one run with a line drive single to right field, and the inning ended at 10-7 to the Raiders.
In the sixth inning, the Raiders took charge as David Ibn Ezra came up to pitch for the Comrades. With strong batting from Bash, the Freunds, Bain, Shapiro and Dolev Bassin, the Raiders had scored 11 runs before Sugarman drilled a three-run home run over center field to bring the score to 24-7. At the bottom of the sixth, Sugarman came in to close, and after allowing one hit to Toubal, struck out the next three consecutive batters to end the game with a decisive win for the Raiders.