Jul 20, 2012
By Raimundo Ortiz
Young Israel of Woodmere took Edwards Avenue to the softball woodshed in the first inning of their match-up last Sunday, jumping out to a 10-1 lead and never giving it up in a 14-9 win. Woodmere starter Nossi Lieberman’s bat overcame his control issues, and became the story of the game.
Offensively, Edwards Avenue scored a run in the first, but the inning was not about them.
Edwards struggled to throw strikes in the bottom of the first inning, and when they were able to get pitches in the zone, Woodmere
punished them early and often. With the bases loaded Lieberman crushed a ball to right center field, splitting the outfielders and rolling far away. He cruised all the way around the diamond, starting the scoring with a grand slam. The hits kept on coming, culminating in a bases loaded double by Ariel Chelst, in his second at-bat of the inning. When the onslaught subsided, the Edwards Avenue crew found themselves in a 10-0 hole.
Lieberman’s control problems cropped up in the top of the second. After a walk and two hits, Edwards captain Jay Cohen was able to draw a free pass with the bases loaded to score their second run. It was all they would get in the inning.
After two singles sandwiched a groundball out to short in the top of the second inning, Edwards Avenue switched pitchers and it made all the difference. The next two Woodmere batters were retired, and Edwards Avenue was ready to begin chipping away at their deficit.
The third inning the two teams seemed to be on more even ground, and Edwards had begun recouperating from the first inning avalanche. Edwards plated two on another bases loaded walk and a fielder’s choice. Woodmere responded by scoring two of their own on a two-run double by Lieberman. It was his third hit of the game, fifth and sixth RBI, and meant he was a triple shy of the cycle.
The score was 12-4, and much of Edwards’ offense had come on bases loaded walks. This method of scoring is usually unsustainable, but on Sunday, Edwards Avenue brought eagle-eyed vision to the plate. In the top of the fourth, Edwards shockingly shook off the early horror show to record a leadoff single, a groundout, and then three consecutive walks that netted two runs. Lieberman was removed from the mound for Chelst, who fared no better against the patient Edwards hitters. Chelst walked the first batter he faced, allowing the
third run of the inning. After a pop-up to first, he walked in two more runs before he was run from the mound as well. Baruch Klemner entered the game as Woodmere’s third pitcher of the morning, and retired the final batter of the inning. In all, Edwards’ patient approach totaled five runs in the frame, making the score 12-9 and forcing Woodmere to sweat out the outcome over the remaining innings.
Unfortunately for Edwards, Klemner didn’t suffer from the yips and wildness that Lieberman and Chelst did, and he locked down the Edwards hitters for the rest of the game. The bottom of the fourth brought another two runs for Woodmere, in the form of a solo home run by Klemner, followed by a double off the bat of Dan Seghi, who was driven in by Dov Sternbus on a two-out single.
Neither team made much noise after the fourth. The walks were far less frequent, the umpire’s strike zone expanded as the heat seemed to make both offenses hazy. In the top of the seventh, Klemner struck out the side. All the strikeouts were looking, as Edwards’ patient form of attack that had gotten them back in the game now became a detriment.
Lieberman was not able to record his cycle, but his six RBI were enough to make his walks a mere blip on the radar.
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