July 25, 2024
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Washington Twp Outlasts TBO in Extra-Inning Thriller

Washington Township, NJ—The boys left it all out on the field. In the end, they left with broken hearts, but with their heads held high. While Teaneck Baseball Organization’s 14U team fell just short of a league championship in its freshman season in the Northeast Bergen All Star (NEBAS) League, the team played a game for the ages, and came away proud of their efforts in a hard-fought and very successful season.

TBO’s run for the championship began on Wednesday, May 30, when the team won the final game of the regular season 9-4 against Oradell, sealing a second-place finish in the division, a first round playoff bye into the semifinal, and a semifinal home game. TBO then played their semifinal game on Sunday, June 3, against the Northern Valley Norsemen under the lights at Lancers Field in Votee Park, winning 3-2 behind a balance of great pitching, stellar defense and timely hitting. The win set the stage for a championship game against the first-place and heavily favored Washington Township Warriors at Washington Township’s Memorial Park. The Warriors had finished their regular season campaign at 5-1, averaging over 12 runs per game.

The game started strong for TBO, with three shutout innings hurled by starting pitcher Abie Schwartz, who kept the powerful Warriors lineup in check by giving up only one hit and walking only one batter. Catcher Natan Solomon contributed to the cause by throwing out a baserunner trying to steal second base in the second inning, and second baseman Yehuda Teitelman made two sparkling plays in the field while left fielder Donny Book made a great grab on a long fly ball to left. Meanwhile, on the offensive side, Netanel Eckman got the bats going with the first hit of the game in the second inning. The game stayed scoreless until the third inning, when TBO struck first—first baseman Yis Kaminetzky hit a booming double to deep center field, and eventually came around to score on a single by Teitelman, giving TBO a 1-0 lead and all of the momentum.

The game stayed that way into the fifth inning, after a 1-2-3 fourth inning by pitcher Caleb Wolin, who was assisted by an amazing over the shoulder catch in short right field by second baseman Akiva Boyarsky and some great defensive work by catcher Ori Engle behind the plate. Washington finally struck back in the bottom of the fifth, however, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 lead. Wolin was able to pitch himself out of the jam and kept the team close by striking out an incredible six batters in three innings of work.

Tensions were high as the game moved into the top of the seventh—and final—inning with Washington up 2-1. Down to their final out, TBO’s Eli Rothenberg came up with the season saving hit with runners on first and second, a single that scored Joey Zelig from third and tied the game at 2. Kaminetzky followed with his second double of the game, a drive down the right field line that scored Book from third and put TBO up 3-2. Andy Rosenberg then came into the game to pitch in the bottom of the seventh. Washington managed to tie the score on a sac fly, but Rosenberg ably pitched out of the jam to preserve the tie and send the game into extra innings, aided by two towering pop up foul ball catches by Solomon behind the plate. The score stayed tied in the eighth and ninth innings behind strong pitching by Rosenberg (four strikeouts and one walk), and an incredible double play by Zelig who caught a long fly ball in center field and threw out the runner at first who had tried advancing.

Unfortunately for TBO, the Warriors finally broke through and ended the marathon in the bottom of the 10th with a two-out grounder to push across the winning run and end TBO’s championship hopes.

“We could not be prouder of the efforts of our 14U stars this spring,” said TBO president David Greenberg. “The boys exhibited a tremendous amount of talent, determination, fortitude and most importantly, sportsmanship and teamwork, and every single player who has played on this team this year should be proud of his accomplishments. They were a testament to hard work and dedication by their coaches, Ross Rothenberg, Jeff Rosenberg, Stu Boyarsky and Moshie Solomon, and we owe them tremendous thanks.”

This travel team played ten seasons, starting in 8U fall travel baseball in 2011. While not every player on this season’s team played in seasons past, many kids have played together off and on for the past 10 seasons, and the team overall had its share of on-the-field successes, including one championship (12U Fall 2015), three other championship appearances (8U Summer 2012, 9U Summer 2013, and 14U Spring 2018), one semifinal appearance (14U Fall 2017) and at least two other playoff appearances (9U Fall 2012 and 11U Fall 2014).

“We also can’t forget to thank Chaim Schwartz, who coached this group’s travel teams from their 8U season until last year,” Greenberg added. “We take great pride in watching our talented travel players go toe-to-toe with the best competition in Bergen County, and we look forward to watching their growth both on and off the field in high school and beyond.”

By TBO Staff

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