Tel Aviv Comrades Win Third Consecutive Premier League Title

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Ra’anana Raiders with the trophy. Credit: Margo Sugarman

Two major championships were decided in Israel baseball this week – the Premier and Junior leagues.

In a best of three series, the Tel Aviv Comrades won their third championship in a row, beating the Jerusalem Lions despite a strong 14-2 regular season by Jerusalem, thanks to the strong starting pitching of Dan Rothem and Tal Erel and a burst of well-timed productivity from their young hitters.

“They were both close, well-played games,” said Premier League commissioner Jordy Alter. “That’s exactly what we want as the league continues to improve.” Sunday’s final score was 5-3. After trailing at the start of the final inning by two runs, Tuesday’s game ended 5-4 on an exciting walk-off hit from Tel Aviv third baseman Yoav Meoded.

In the Junior League, the Ra’anana Raiders became the first Ra’anana baseball team to win an Israel Association of Baseball Junior national championship, beating the Bet Shemesh Mavericks on Wednesday at the Baptist Village Baseball Field in Petah Tikva. The Raiders took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, with strong starting pitching from Freddy Bain, but the Mavericks kept the game close with a surge in the third inning that took them ahead 3-2.

Reliever Yehuda Freund stopped the Mavericks in the fourth inning and the Raiders went ahead, starting the seventh and final inning 7-4 up. It appeared the Mavericks would take the lead with the tying run on third base and go-ahead run in scoring position at second with no one out, in a rally that had already produced two runs. But a strike-out by closer Hadar Sugarman, a line-out, and a pop-out to end the game left the runners stranded and the Raiders held on to win the title 7-6.