WJC Repeats as WHSL Champions
Written by: Scott D. Simon
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
With 3-2 and 9-0 wins over B'nai B'rith in the championship doubleheader, Westchester Jewish Center earned its second WHSL Championship in as many years, and its third in the last four.
Game one was one of the most tense, closely-battled games in WHSL history. B'nai pushed across single runs in the first and second innings on sacrifice flies by Dan Wurtzel and Murray Goldfarb.
Dan Forrester shut out WJC until the fourth inning, when Isaac Hattem singled with one out, advancing to second on a walk by Alex Weisberger. Following a flyout that failed to advance the runners, Jeffrey Aronsky singled to center field, and Hattem tried to score. The throw from center arrived as Hattem was sliding home; his foot knocked the ball out of Forrester's glove. When Weisberger, who had advanced to third on the throw, saw the ball roll to the backstop, he sprinted home to knot the score at two.
WJC scored one run in the sixth inning thanks to a Hattem triple and a Weisberger sacrifice fly. With such a slim margin for error, every single at-bat was pressurized.
B'nai's Neil Goldfarb made the play of the decade in the eighth inning. Brian Lazere of WJC launched a ball to the deepest part of left field. Goldfarb turned his back and sprinted toward the fence, laying out like Jim Edmonds and coming up with the ball. With the top of the order scheduled to bat for B'nai in the bottom of the inning, it seemed like the momentum was shifting back to B'nai. Goldfarb reached base to keep the pressure on, but Lazere made a diving catch of his own to prevent a second baserunner. That was the last time B'nai threatened, and WJC had taken game one.
Between his semifinal start and game one of the finals, Adam Eis had allowed only two runs over his previous 18 innings pitched. Given that WJC only supported him with four runs in those two games, Eis's performance and the team's outstanding defense were key to those WJC victories. In game two of the finals, WJC finally broke out on offense (a grand slam by Weisberger and a two-run shot by Lazere being the knockout blows), but Eis still shut out B'nai over eight innings. Jon Nissenblatt threw a no-run ninth inning to start the celebration.
This is the first repeat WHSL championship in at least a dozen years. More satisfying for WJC than that, or even the team's three wins since 2012, is that WJC won this title without the severe late-inning injuries that marred the 2012 and 2014 finals. WJC still has a long way to go to reach the standard of now-defunct JCC-White Plains, a team that won seven or eight consecutive titles in the 1980s. 2015 proves, however, that this WJC team may be well on its way to "dynasty" status.
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