Sunday, February 23, 2020

Eli Rothenberg drove in Noam Kornwasser in the bottom of the 6th with a fielder’s choice ground ball to third, sparking Teaneck to a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Jefferson Lightning. Those fans who braved the elements and the late hour were treated to an exciting game featuring strong defense, aggressive base-running, and solid pitching.

After a back-and-forth first two innings left the game tied at 3, Teaneck ace Andy Rosenberg settled down and put up a pair of zeros, helped out by strong up-the-middle defense from Ezra Halpert at shortstop and Zachary Gibber at second. But Jefferson’s pitcher also got stronger as the game wore on, and the game was still tied 3-3 heading into the 5th.

In the top of the 5th, Jefferson loaded the bases with no one out. The next batter hit a short fly ball to left where Aharon Neuer made the play. Jefferson chose not to try to tag up, leaving the bases loaded with one out. The next batter hit a deep fly to right, and this time Jefferson decided to try to score. In the defensive play of the game, Ezra Haselkorn made the catch in deep right and fired a laser to catcher Ori Engel, who blocked the plate and applied the tag to complete the double play.

Teaneck then came up with three runs in the bottom of the 5th, with the big blow a 2-run double to left by Zachary Gibber. But reliever Eli Rothenberg ran into trouble in the top of the 6th, as Jefferson battled back. With the score 6-5, the bases loaded, and one out, Teaneck turned to flame-throwing lefty Elijah Mosberg, who, after a brief “rain” delay when the sprinklers came on, got out of the inning with only one more run scoring.

With the hour creeping past 9 p.m., the stage was set for a dramatic bottom of the 6th. Noam Kornwasser worked a one-out walk, then stole second and third. After a pair of walks to Elijah Mosberg and Andy Rosenberg loaded the bases, Eli Rothenberg stepped in with a chance to be the hero and smashed a hard-hit ground ball to third. With Noam Kornwasser charging hard down the third base line, it was a do-or-die play for Jefferson’s third baseman. His throw short-hopped the catcher, and Noam slid in safely with the winning run.

Teaneck was aggressive on the bases all night with numerous stolen bases, including speedster Aharon Neuer scoring from third on a wild pitch. Said Coach Ross Rothenberg after the game, “[that was] one of the best games we have ever played.”

By Aryeh Haselkorn