After a resounding 4-1 victory in the first game of the three-game series of the Israel Baseball Premier League Championships and a strong regular season performance, the Ra’anana Raiders looked like they were ready to take the series 2-0 against the Tel Aviv Comrades. But Tel Aviv came back in a nail-biting Game 2 with a walk-off win, sending the series into a third game.
In Game 1 on Sunday at the Baptist Village in Petah Tikva, the Ra’anana Raiders got off to a flying start, after Yonatan Ziering scored after singling and stealing and a ground out by Assaf Lowengart for the run. The Tel Aviv Comrades came back at the top of the second inning, scoring a run from a single from Moshe Tabak. But in the third inning Ra’anana pulled away with one run from Kai Friesem on a ground out by Ziering. Pitcher Ben Flesher scored in the fourth, on a single line drive from Shaked Baruch, and Ra’anana secured the win in the bottom of the sixth when Flesher scored again on a single from Freddy Bain.
On the mound, Flesher led Ra’anana to victory, going seven innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out eight. Benny Feins took the loss for Tel Aviv, surrendering four runs on five hits over six innings, striking out five and walking one. Flesher, Amitai Levy, Ziering, Baruch and Bain each had one hit for Ra’anana.
Tel Aviv came out fighting in Game 2 on Tuesday, determined not to let the series go in two games. They defeated Ra’anana 5-4 thanks to a walk-off single. The game was tied in the bottom of last inning with Tel Aviv batting when Dean Pelman singled on the first pitch of the at bat, driving in the winning run.
Ra’anana got off to a strong start in the first inning, when Bain singled on a 2-2 count, driving Lowengart in to score. Tel Aviv evened it up in the bottom of the first with Tal Erel scoring on a passed ball. In the top of the third, Ziering homered to left field, Lowengart scored on an error and Ra’anana pulled ahead by two for a 3-1 lead. Tel Aviv came back in the bottom of the inning with two runs to even the game up – a double from Jake Rosenberg drove in Ophir Katz and a single from Pelman allowed Rosenberg to score. In the top of the sixth, Ra’anana edged ahead with Bain, who had opened with a single, scoring on a ground out from Baruch. In an exciting bottom of the last inning, Tel Aviv’s bats came alive, with Avi Segal pitching. The tying run came when Rosenberg singled and Ethan Milgram scored. With Ophir Katz on third, after being hit by a pitch, Pelman singled for the run by Katz.
Katz pitched Tel Aviv to victory, going seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and striking out seven. Levy took the loss for Ra’anana, lasting three and two-thirds innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out five. Lowengart started the game for Ra’anana. He surrendered three runs on five hits over two and a third innings, striking out four.
Tel Aviv had nine hits with Rosenberg, Pelman and Dan Rothem all managing multiple hits. Ra’anana had nine hits with multiple hits for Bain, Lowengart and Flesher.
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The deciding game was played at Baptist Village on Thursday evening, with the result coming after press time.