Towering Homer Pushes Modi’in Past Modi’in-Gezer in Juniors Baseball

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Modi'in and Modi'in-Gezer players paying tribute to late umpire Howie Osterer, November 2014. Credit: Israel Association of Baseball

Modi’in defeated Modi’in-Gezer 3-2 last Friday in Junior League action, buoyed by a long home run by Daniel Weiss in the bottom of the sixth.

In a brief pregame ceremony at Kibbutz Gezer, the teams dedicated the game to Howie Osterer, a beloved member of Israel’s baseball community who collapsed and died on Tuesday while umping a game at Gezer.

The day started well for Modi’in-Gezer, with lanky right-hander Ori Wachspress retiring the side on 11 pitches in the top of the first. In the bottom of the frame, the team loaded the bases on a single by Boaz Milgram and two walks. But Modi’in’s ace Akiva Schwartz worked out of the jam by sneaking an inside fastball by Nachum Kletzel.

Strong pitching by Wachspress and Schwartz, not to mention solid defense, kept the game scoreless through three innings. In the top of the fourth, Modi’in scored twice on wild pitches. Modi’in-Gezer countered with a run in the bottom of the inning when Wachspress doubled and scored on an errant throw to third on a steal attempt.

Eli Weber smashed a home run for Modi’in-Gezer in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at two, but Modi’in regained the lead in the sixth with Weiss’ towering homer. Reliever Noam Wine then retired Modi’in-Gezer’s last six batters to seal the victory.

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