Jun 15, 2012
By Natalia Kozikowska
The DRS Wildcats swept the HAFTR Hawks 4-0 to advance in the Yeshiva League Championship game last Friday. The Wildcats started their game strong with two runs in the first inning. From there on in, the fate of the Wildcats was in star pitcher Yitzy Schwalb’s hands. Schwalb did not disappoint, giving up no walks or easy pitches to HAFTR.
Tensions were running high as the two Five Towns teams went head to head. DRS came in strong with two runs in the top of the first. Second baseman Eitan Dechter and right fielder Yitzchak Ginsberg each had a base hit, followed by a double by Avrumi Blisko. Doron Youseflaleh knocked a single shortly after, allowing Ginsberg to score the first run for DRS and allowing for Blisko to steal home for a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning Hawk pitcher Jason Schlessel gave away three consecutive walks to Yani Kadish, Dani Scheinman and Yaakov Abittan leaving the bases loaded. It was then that Eitan Dechter slammed the ball far into the outfield. Even though this fly ball was caught by Hawk outfielder Yitz Oppen, Kadish tagged up to take the run and jumped out for a 3-0 lead.
It seemed as though things were looking up for the Hawks when pitcher Schlessel had a powerful 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third, but this only held DRS back for a short period of time. The Wildcats scored again in the fourth inning, on what HAFTR would say was a questionable call. Last week’s grand slam hitter, Daniel Ash, knocked a triple and Dani Schienman was at the plate again. Schienman had a close call base hit with two outs. HAFTR was outraged when the umpire did not retire Schienman at first base. Their players could be heard yelling their disapproval with the call. The umpire, however, stuck with her call that
Schienman was safe. This base hit lifted the Wildcats to a 4-0 lead as Ash ran across home plate.
HAFTR remained without any base hits for the first three innings but got back into their rhythm by the fourth inning. The Hawks’ Yitz Openn broke the no-hit streak in this inning with a base hit. Avi Resnick had also knocked a single in the bottom of the fourth but the Wildcats defense and pitcher shut them out before they were able to score.
The Hawks had some strong offensive plays in the fifth inning including a base hit by Austin Feit and a base hit by Adam Dahan, but Dani Schienman caught a fly ball in the outfield to shut out Hawk batter Benji Horowitz. The Hawks’ defense also picked up around the fifth inning but this effort may have come too late. Although DRS was unable to score for the rest of the game their runs in the first four innings secured their victory.
DRS coach Larry Gross was all smiles after the Wildcats’ victory over HAFTR. “I think we pitched well and that’s 90 percent of the battle” he says. “When you don’t walk anybody and you don’t give up any hits it is a good recipe for winning.” Gross is most thrilled for his team who just landed their fourth straight victory. “I’m just happy for the kids, that’s all. It’s a nice feeling and for the seniors it’s a good way to end up their year here.”
Wildcat pitcher Yitzy Scwalb attributes a great game to his teammates but his focus is really on the championship game. “Its exciting, we have to go Brooklyn now” says Schwalb. “I heard Shaare Torah is a good team but I think we have a good shot.” Schwalb is also excited to represent The Five Towns in the Yeshiva League Championship game this year. “I’m not from The Five Towns, but a lot of people on the team are so it should be fun” he adds. Schwalb is confident that his team will take home the title. “I think we’re going to win. I don’t even think its going to be close” he says. His confident statement was followed by loud cheers from his teammates.
Despite the heartbreaking loss for HAFTR, coach Rabbi Ari Glasser is proud of all his team has accomplished. “You
can’t be too upset about making the playoffs and being the number two seed” he says. “Though they feel like they could have done more I think they have nothing to be ashamed about, they had a great season.” Glasser agrees that his team just started to hit too late into the game. “The last three innings they had at least two guys on base but we just couldn’t get that magical hit we were looking for.”
DRS (8-2) will be playing the undefeated Shaare Torah Stars this week on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Brooklyn’s McDonald Playground located on McDonald Avenue between Avenue T and Avenue S. The two have never played against one another before this game.
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