July 18, 2024
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Team Back to Health Physical Therapy Wins Championship

Towards the beginning of the baseball season, during the early weeks of May, the outlook looked bleak for team Back to Health Physical Therapy 7/8 TBO (BTH). Four games into the season, the team was in seventh place, with only one win and three losses. Their formula for winning games seemed elusive. Under the strong and dedicated leadership of coaches Mordy Simpson, Natan Krohn, Jon Rimberg and Shua Last, the team started to pull things together. Putting in extra time before games and during practices, they worked hard to improve their hitting, fielding and pitching, and the team started to win games. In fact, they won every single game since their 1-3 start and went on a 10-game winning streak to close out the season. They played their last game of the regular season against a very strong Premier Endoscopy team in a battle for the first place seed. After a hard-fought win to match Premier’s win-loss record, followed by a lucky coin toss, Back to Health earned the first seed in the playoffs.

The playoffs proved to be extremely challenging from the very first game, and the team’s resolve was tested early. In the first round, Back to Health played a resilient EJ’s Place team and was able to secure a close win (10-9) after making a comeback in bottom of the sixth inning. Next up was the power-hitting and strong-pitching team of Rinat Yisrael. The early momentum went to team Rinat, as team BTH found itself in a 5-0 hole by the third inning, and trailed 8-2 in the fourth. Few on team BTH thought it was possible to come back from such a large deficit, especially against such a capable team. The young BTH players showed incredible determination in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation, and they managed to hold Rinat scoreless in the top of the fifth with a solid defensive effort. In the fifth inning, the BTH bats started to come alive, as they knocked in the maximum four runs in the bottom of the fifth, making it 8-6 going into the final inning. The BTH defense again held strong in the top of the sixth, keeping Rinat off the scoreboard. In the bottom of the sixth, with one out and no one on base, standout personality and most improved player Patrick “Lucky Penny” Alfonso hit a shot to the shortstop and beat out the throw to first base, prompting a roar from his BTH teammates and fans. The next batter, Spencer Gottesman, advanced Patrick to second with a single to the left side of the infield. Down two runs and with two outs, Sidney Gussen stepped up to the plate and lined a double toward left-center field, scoring Patrick to make it 8-7. Yonah Last then hit a single to make it first and third. Next up was power hitter Ezra Krohn. Taking a patient approach with the game on the line, he waited for a good pitch and then slammed one deep into the outfield to knock in two runs and win the game in incredible walk-off fashion. A truly miraculous semi-final playoff win!

The championship game was played early Sunday morning with a 7:45 a.m. start time against a very hot Knoll Orthodontics team, who themselves had climbed up the ranks and upset two higher-ranked teams in the playoffs with impressive performances. After Knoll went up to 2-0 in the second inning, the Back to Health bats started to warm up, with solid hits coming from power hitters Sidney Gussen, Yonah Last, Ezra Krohn, Adiv Rimberg and Gavriel Simpson that resulted in a 4-2 lead. Their offensive surge was complimented by great defensive plays all around, including a spectacular catch by Sidney in deep left field that helped limit the Knoll team to only one more run the rest of the game. The BTH offense kept rolling with solid hitting from Mendel Szokovski, Nati Fischman and Pacey Hornblass, who hit a double in his last at-bat of the season to secure an 11-3 victory. A great end to an amazing TBO baseball season!

By Mordy Simpson and Natan Krohn

 

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