May 30, 2024
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TABC Storm Fall Just Short in Columbus Tournament Championship

The TABC Storm baseball team showed its dominance at the Columbus Baseball Invitational in Columbus, Ohio last week but fell just short in the championship game for the third time in the last four years.

The Storm opened the tournament against the first-year team of Katz Yeshiva High School. Freshman Liam Levy was the starting pitcher for the Storm and led the team to a 7-3 lead before exiting the game in the fourth inning. Junior Ben Antosofsky came in to replace Levy and shut down KYHS. After TABC piled on another six runs in the fifth inning, the mercy rule was reached, ending the game with a 13-3 TABC victory.

The Storm were then tasked with a challenge as they were scheduled in a must-win game for both teams vs. the Ida Crown Aces of Chicago, Illinois. The Storm had ace pitcher Yechiel Keiser on the mound for the battle, but the Aces started their own ace, Joseph Dimbert. Neither pitcher allowed a run until Ida Crown junior Noah Pogonitz scored from third in the bottom of the sixth. The Storm retaliated in the top of the seventh when junior Ari Katz, pinch-hitting for teammate Yonadav Rimberg, smacked a clutch single to score Sammy Levitt from third and tie the game. However, the Ida Crown coach noticed that Katz had not been properly declared a pinch hitter before the at-bat. After 15 minutes of deliberation, the umpires controversially decided that the run scored but that Katz was out at first base. Keiser shut out the Aces in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extra innings, but Ida Crown rebounded with a walkoff run to win the game in the bottom of the eighth.

All hearts had been put out on the field, as both teams believed that the winner of the game would advance and the loser would be out of the tournament. However, due to tiebreakers, both the Aces and the Storm were advanced to the final four.

TABC played HAFTR in the semi-finals later that afternoon with junior Aharon Weiden on the mound. Weiden played well for the first two innings but then injured his oblique and had to be replaced by fellow junior Akiva Hain. Hain allowed only one run while the TABC offense scored four. TABC freshman Liam Levy closed out the game despite a nagging injury he had kept to himself. Levy allowed just one run in the seventh inning to seal a 4-2 win, sending the Storm to the championship for a rematch vs. new rival Ida Crown.

The Storm entered the game at a huge disadvantage as their only available pitcher was Hain at minimal strength. But junior Yoni Stewart, who hadn’t pitched since eighth grade because of recurring surgeries, was handed the ball to start the championship game, and he stepped up big time. Captains Zevi “Teddy” Bin-Nun and Ari Solomon led the Storm to a 6-0 lead in the top of the third before things started to come apart. Ida Crown scored four runs in the bottom of the third and another three in the sixth as TABC rotated pitchers between Hain, Keiser and Katz. TABC tied the game at 7-7 in the top of the seventh, but Ami Greenberg hit a winning walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh to complete the Aces’ comeback and seal the championship.

The Storm showed tremendous heart throughout tournament, and the essence of TABC athletics was brought to Columbus as yet again TABC received a ton of compliments and recognition for their outstanding sportsmanship and middos. Special thanks goes to coaches Norm Blumenthal and Steve Malech for their tremendous work and guidance on and off the field in teaching the team not just to play baseball but also to be great people. Special thanks also goes to Ofer Naor, Ethan Keiser and David Greenberg for coming all the way out to Columbus to help with transportation, support and most importantly, food.

By Ari Solomon

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