The Aces returned to Columbus, Ohio, for the eighth annual Jewish World Series hosted by Columbus Torah Academy. The 12 team tournament included teams from California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The Aces were tournament champions in 2011 and 2014, and have never finished lower than third in the tournament.
Seeding is always controversial, and for the second consecutive year the Aces drew perennial rival, Kushner, in the first round. Kushner is also a two-time champion. Joseph Dimbert pitched a gem, leading the Aces to a 6-1 victory with reliever Amitai Kolom cleaning up. Josh Goldrich, Lefty Schwartz and Yoni Asher led the attack offensively. Zack Cooper and Noah Perlman had key put outs, throwing out base runners at the plate from left and center field respectively in the first inning, with Asher making the tags. A flashy 4-6-3 double play (Dimbert, Goldrich, Noah Pogonitz) took the wind out of the Kushner sails late in the game, with Kushner coaches and parents being ejected by the umpire thereafter.
To get out of the first round, the Aces would have to beat a much improved MTA team, which upset Kushner earlier. Lefty Schwartz took the mound, and with Kolom’s help in the 7th inning, led the Aces to a 3-0 win. Josh Goldrich and Max Baker had key RBIs in the game.
In game 3, Zack Cooper pitched his heart out, but the Aces dropped a tough 3-2 game to Valley Torah of Los Angeles on three unearned runs. The game opened with VT scoring twice in the first inning on errors. The Aces did not get on the board until the top of the sixth. Goldberger singled to lead off. With one out, Goldrich singled and Goldberger scored on an error by the VT centerfielder. Down 2-1, Asher then hit a bomb to left, falling five feet short of the fence. The ball bounced over the fence for a game-tying ground rule double, scoring Goldrich, but the Aces could not get the lead run across.
With VT threatening in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second and one out, Asher relieved Cooper and got out of the jam without damage.
After failing to score in the top of the seventh, VT’s leadoff man reached on an error. The next hitter walked. A sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third. An intentional walk loaded the bases and Coach Asher brought the infield in for a play at the plate. He also brought Goldberger in from the outfield, to go with five infielders (plus the battery) and two outfielders. The strategy worked, but a third unearned/winning run crossed the plate on a ground ball that made it out of the infield. Rabbi Rosen rallied the dejected Aces, who would have to play for third place instead of being in the championship game.
In the final game of the season for the Aces, Asher took the mound against Flatbush, and the Aces took their frustration out on Flatbush pitchers with a 14-2 drubbing, with Pogonitz and Baker leading the offensive attack.
The Aces took third, remaining the only team in Jewish World Series history to finish in the top 3 every year. They finished the season 10-6, and over the last nine years, have a record of 84 wins and 35 losses.
Thank you to all of the families and sponsors that helped make the trip to Ohio memorable. Thank you to our phenomenal coaches, Ray Asher, Steve Greenberg and Dr. Wolin for another great and memorable season.