Baseball / IBL / Lightning Edge Miracle With Homers

Beit Shemesh Blue Sox captialize on Netanya Tigers' miscues.

The Tel Aviv Lightning defeated the Modi'in Miracle 3-2 in an Israel Baseball League game at Gezer Field yesterday on three solo home runs by shortstop Raul Franco, third baseman Nate Fish and first baseman Stuart Brito.

Miracle pitcher Maximo Nelson struck out 11 batters in his seven innings of work, but it wasn't enough.

Australian Adam Crabb pitched four and a third innings for the Lightning and allowed just one earned run, before giving way to New York native Mike Etkin, who picked up the win.

Miracle first baseman Aaron Levin went 4-for-4 as Modi'in lost its third consecutive game and Tel Aviv won for the fourth straight time.

At Sportek in Tel Aviv, the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox beat the Netanya Tigers 7-4. The Blue Sox had only three hits, but scored five runs in the first inning on a combination of walks, hit batters, errors, a passed ball and a wild pitch.

Netanya's Colombian pitcher Rafael Rojano left after just one inning, before Israeli Shlomo Lipetz took over and threw six innings, giving up no runs on one hit while striking out 11 and walking one.

Righty Jason Benson threw a complete game for Beit Shemesh, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking none. Australian right fielder Jason Rees slugged his league-leading 15th home run of the season.

The last-place Petah Tikva Pioneers lost their seventh straight game, a 16-1 drubbing at the hands of the Ra'anana Express at Sportek in Tel Aviv, which was called due to darkness after five innings.

After hitting his first IBL home run on Friday, Express shortstop Brendan Rubenstein went 4-for-5 yesterday, scoring five RBIs and three runs. First baseman Scott Feller went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. All but two Ra'anana starting position players had at least one hit.

Express right-hander Nathan Mittag pitched all five innings and allowed only one run on three hits, striking out three batters and walking two.

The win was the third in a row for manager Shaun Smith's club.

Before today's games, the Miracle will tour Modi'in with Deputy Mayor Alex Weinreb. The tour will begin at 10:30 A.M. and conclude at noon when the Miracle will return to City Hall to meet with fans and hand out souvenirs and tickets.

Manager Art Shamsky also will be speaking with fans and children about baseball fundamentals, with the hope of encouraging young Israelis to aspire to become future IBL stars.

Tomorrow, players from the Netanya Tigers will be visiting the Hadarim Mall in Netanya, between 11:30 A.M and 1:30. Netanya players who hail from Israel, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Australia and Japan will have a "meet and greet" with fans. Players will be handing out free tickets to games and there will also be fun activities with prizes for fans. Also in attendance will be Netanya Manager and Israel's own Ami Baran.