Cafe Rimon successfully defended its HAS Israel Softball League championship crown on Saturday night, with a 13-4 victory over Lobos in the title game. Players and fans partied late into the night, as the Holyland Series Trophy made its second annual pilgrimage to the Cafe Rimon team's namesake, in downtown Jerusalem.
The much-anticipated showdown with Lobos started off neck-and-neck, with Lobos striking first for a one-run lead. The teams traded 2-run homers in the second - Shimon Cohen for Cafe Rimon's and Aryeh Bliemen for Lobos - and it looked like a slugfest was underway.
Cafe Rimon's veteran pitcher Yaacov Ehrlich then made a savvy adjustment, moving most of his pitches to the inside corner. With Ehrlich painting the black with pinpoint accuracy, Lobos' murderers-row lineup had to fight off 2-strike counts, and their dangerous bats were quieted until the penultimate frame.
Cafe Rimon, on the other hand, made itself heard, in a big way. Captain Gershon Jacobovitch gave his team the lead with a monstrous 3-run homer that had the raucous crowd on its feet. The next inning he came to the plate with two men on again. Lobos huddled on the mound to discuss a possible intentional pass, but elected instead to pitch to Jacobovitch, who promptly redeposited the ball right back over the center field fence, this time sending the crowd into a state of pandemonium.
The offensive onslaught continued as David Fain and Chaim Schon set the table, reaching base four times, while Archie Eichorn knocked in a pair with a majestic hit off the wall. Yanky Itzkowitz, Yaakov Assaya, and Moshe Lexier added several hits, with Itzkowitz robbing numerous dangerous Lobos shots in left field and Lexier filling in ably for injured star Yaniv Tseidi.
With Cafe Rimon leading 13-3 Lobos threatened one last time, as captain Aryeh Rudman showed his smarts. However, it was to be Cafe Rimon's night, and thanks to a wild and wacky double play the rally was cut short, with the score 13-4.
Fans stormed the field on the final out, and Cafe' Rimon's dynamic duo of Ehrlich and Jacobovitch were awarded, respectively, the season and championship MVP. Ehrlich's campaign included four shutouts, a league record.
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