Wednesday, January 19, 2022

On a clear, cold Monday night, The B-Neck Bombers hosted Hasbrouck Heights in the NEBAS 13U semifinals, seeking to avenge their one run loss earlier this season. In a tightly stacked playoff bracket, the winner would advance to play the top seed, undefeated and defending champion Saddle Brook. DJ Nay led the team onto the field with another one of his patented pep talk, but the Bombers still had some early game jitters. The opposing leadoff hitter jumped on the first pitch of the game for a single, and then put together a small ball inning, scratching out two runs to take an early lead.

The top of the Bombers’ lineup was not fazed, as Charlie Butler led off getting hit by a pitch and Ryan Teller walked. After a double steal saw runners on second and third with no outs, Hasbrouck Heights’ starting pitcher settled down and struck out the 3-4-5 hitters to get out of a tough jam and maintain their 2-0 lead.

The top of the second picked up for Hasbrouck Heights right where they left off. The Bombers could not shake their early game funk, and after some uncharacteristic errors and walks, Hasbrouck Heights started to unload. Perfectly placed hits sandwiched a few walks, and without blinking the Bombers were down 10-0 after 2. Another error to start off the third led to three more opposing runs and an even bigger deficit. The home team was able to scratch out a run in the bottom of the third, as Teller walked again, stole second and scored on Jonah Nayowitz’s long double to put the Bombers on the board. Two more runs were plated by HH in the top of the fourth, and the visitors were starting to plan for the championship.

Down 15-1 in the middle of the fourth inning, the deficit seemed insurmountable. Coaches Alan Teller, Yitzi Karasick and Dovie Popowitz gathered the team and challenged them to leave it all on the field—and boy, did the Bombers rise to the challenge. Eli Wiederkehr led off by reaching base, and after an Eitan Goldwasser walk, the top of the order went to work. Butler and Teller both singled to drive in runs and bring up the heart of the order. The Bombers’ big hitters came to bat with renewed confidence and delivered. Eitan Popowitz doubled and Nayowitz singled in to bring in a few more runs. Ezra Krohn worked a big walk, and after working the count in his favor, Rafi Karasick hit into a huge fielder’s choice to reload the bases. Batting around, Wiederkehr continued the rally with an RBI single. With everyone expecting another walk to Goldwasser next, he instead delivered a big RBI single. Butler finished the huge rally with a bases-clearing double, and after entering the inning 15-1, B-Neck accomplished what seemed impossible, scoring 11 in one inning, making the score 15-12. It was now a close game, and the pressure was now back on the Heights. Teller came on to pitch the fifth, and he proceeded to mow down the 3-4-5 opposing batters, shifting momentum to the Bombers and their 3-4-5 batters. Popowitz, Nayowitz and Krohn all delivered, and the Bombers were now down by one entering the sixth.

Time was not on the Bombers side as they took the field in the top of the sixth. Two huge, but long, innings earlier in the game took up a lot of time, and the 2:15 time limit was looming over the home team. After the opponent scratched out a run on a great defensive play by Butler, Nayowitz and Karasick connected on their patented 9-3 putout to bring the Bombers up in their last at-bat with a chance to finish off their rally. Goldwasser walked again, reaching base for the fourth time. Pinch runner David Kranzler went to work on the bases, keeping the pressure on Abromowicz, Hasbrouck Heights’ closer. After two steals and an overthrow scored Kranzler, the Bombers were now down by one. But that is where the magical run ended. A great catch by the Heights’ centerfielder on a line drive finally burst the Bomber’s bubble, and a close play at first ended the game and an amazing comeback. B-neck rallied together in a comeback for the ages, but in the time-shortened game, they fell one inning and one run short.

The B-Neck Bombers put together an amazing season, finishing 5-2-1, in second place in a very competitive division. The team is already preparing their winter ball schedule to come back next season stronger and ready to finish off what they started this year. Special thanks to the coaches, as well as support from BBO and TBO, Avi Rosalimsky, Aharon Goldwasser, and scheduler extraordinaire Rina Mogul. Stay tuned for next season—the Bombers will be back.

By Jewish Link Sportsdesk


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