In playoff action this week, Tel Aviv handily defeated Jerusalem 13-2, and Ra'anana edged Bud’s Boys Modi’in 7-6. With their victories, Tel Aviv and Ra'anana advance to the best-of-three championship series next week.
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Ra'anana jumped on the board early against Modi'in on Tuesday as Dani Goldring singled to lead off the game and was able to advance to third on the error by the right fielder. He later scored on a passed ball to make it a 1-0 game. Modi’in struck back in the bottom half of the first with two runs of its own, showing patience at the plate and earning three walks in the inning.
The third inning belonged to Modi’in. With bases loaded, Tonny Schwarzmer ripped a line-drive single to left, which turned into a bases-clearing triple after the ball was misplayed by the left fielder. Ra’anana’s starting pitcher Gilad Zwilling buckled down and got out of the inning without any more damage. Ra’anana fought back in the fourth and made it a 5-4 game with runs by Maor Maama, Ophir Katz and Guy Peled, sparked by a key hit by Yoav Halper.
Goldring tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth with an RBI double, driving home Matan Ritz, who led off the inning with a walk. Ra’anana was able to take a 7-5 lead in the sixth after Yonatan Schechter and Yoav Halper both scored.
The defensive plays of the game belonged to Modi’in, with first baseman Zach Schneider making two great catches on bullets hit by Katz, doubling off Ra’anana runners both times. The left side of the infield was also strong, with shortstop Assaf Lowengart and third baseman Zvi Herman snagging everything that came their way.
The star of the game, however, was Ra’anana’s pitcher John Braxton, who came into the game in the fourth inning and only gave up one (unearned) run over five innings. Braxton worked quickly and efficiently, helping Ra’anana get the W with a final score of 7-6.
The championship series opens on Sunday, with games also scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, if necessary.
All games are at the Baptist Village field in Petah Tikva at 7 P.M.