Baseball / Modi'in Takes Championship After Wild Game

Lefty ace Yoni Alter stars in 7-6 win

Modi'in defeated Tel Aviv 7-6 on a walk-off walk in the final game of the best-of-three Israel Baseball Premiere League championship series for the fall season Monday.

Lefty ace Yoni Alter pitched seven strong innings for Modi'in, yielding only one earned run, and Jesse Sultanik was credited with the win after coming in to pitch the final two innings.

Player-coach Dan Rothem was the pitcher of record for Tel Aviv, appearing in relief of starting pitcher Amit Kurz and reliever Orr Gottlieb.

Modi'in won the first game in the series 12-7, but Tel Aviv came back to tie the series with a 7-1 trouncing behind Gottlieb's brilliant complete game pitching performance.

The game proved to be one of the most exciting in IAB history.

The lead changed 8 times over the 9 innings played. Good defensive plays were accompanied by costly errors and base running blunders.

With the game tied, Jesse Sultanik singled to center to lead off the bottom of the 9th. Yoni Alter reached first safely on a sacrifice bunt and a costly error by the first baseman, with Sultanik advancing to third on the play.

The dangerous Noam Markose was intentionally walked to create a force at home, but then Rothem uncharacteristically walked David Rael-Brook to force home the winning run.

Tel Aviv struck first with two runs in the top of the 3rd inning highlighted by a clutch single to deep left field by Gottlieb. Modi'in struck back with three runs led by a key hit by Markose and helped by a Tel Aviv error.

Tel Aviv's Yuli Tsypin scored the tying run with a solid single and heads up baserunning in the 5th, but Modi'in regained the lead in the bottom of the inning with David Rael-Brook's two-RBI single.

Tel Aviv tied again in the top of the 7th with Rothem driving in two runs on a fielder's choice, and Modi'in evened the score in the bottom of the 7th.

Golden chance

Modi'in had a golden chance to take the lead in the bottom of the 8th after leadoff batter Josh Alter was awarded second base on an obstruction call and Jeff Mor reached first on an infield single, sending Alter to third. Mor, 44, then stole second and Modi'in had two runners in scoring position with no outs.

But Rothem came in and rose to the challenge striking out the next three batters. Tel Aviv scored the tying run in the top of the 9th after Kurz reached second on an outfield error and third on a passed ball and scored on Tsypin's ground out to second base.

Gottlieb also found himself on second base after an error in the outfield, Rothem was intentionally walked and Saltzman hit a ground ball to short which got only the runner at second.

Gottlieb crossed home on the play with the potential lead run, but was called out on appeal for missing home plate.