FM Home Loans Israel Softball League
By Monty Wayland
The Rebbishe Vikings completed a dream season, taking home the championship tophy in the FM Home Loans Yeshiva Sotball League. Players soaked eachother in celebratory champagne upon the dramatic game-winning defensive gem, as euphoric fans stormed the field.
The game provided plenty of dramatic moments - and far more tension than the Vikings and their fans were probably expecting or hoping for. The Vikings had, throughout their postseason contests preceding the title game, put on a “shock and awe” offensive display, overwhelming all opposition. Not so in the final, where the underdog Goofy Goobers looked to complete their Cinderella Story. The Goobers expert defense never let the Vikings run away with things, as the favorites had against their previous opponents. In the end, if was the Vikings defense which had to come through in the clutch - and come through it did, ending multiple threats from the dangerous Goobers with highlight-reel plays, to secure the championship victory.
“Defense wins championships,” said Rebbishe Vikings captain Moti Kassai, “and we’ve understood that from the onset of the season. We’ve got great hitting, top to bottom - but you never know when your opponents will come up with great plays, and the hits just won’t fall. When that day comes, you’ve gotta rely on your defense. That day came today, and our defense came through with a championship.”
The Vikings’ defense was led by pitcher Dovi Olshen, with another masterpiece on the mound. He induced 4 double plays, converted expertly by SS Tzvi Wexler, 2B Aaron Natt, and Victor at the keystone corner. Ari Schuman displayed his trademark “full-tilt” attitude in center, making daring catches to rob several Goobers players at key moments, while his brother Shaq Schuman in RF, and Yehuda Pifco in Left, pulled down potential hits as well.
The Vikings, rather than scoring in bunches as usual, instead scratched out a hardscrabble 10 runs on the day. Veterans Shaprio and Kalish keyed the offense, setting the table with multiple hits, and Victor batted in three runs. The Vikings looked to finally be breaking things open late, but a remarkable play by the Goobers nailed a runner on a throw from deep left field to the plate.
The Vikings defense found themselves protecting a one-run lead with three innings remaining - and in their biggest test, they responded with three scoreless innings down the stretch, allowing their offense to earn some breathing room and a 10-4 final.
Captain Motti Kassai accepted the Championship Trophy on behalf of Rebbishe Vikings’ sponsor Capital Stack Advisors, as gleeful players made certain to soak league commissioners Dovi Rabinowitz and Mordy Charowitz in championship bubbly, before heading off for a team championship celebration.