Last week was particularly successful for the Israeli softball teams at the European Championships held in the Czech Republic, with a double victory of the Israeli national teams. The under-16 boys' team finished as thw European runners-up with the silver medal and the under-18 youth team made the podium with the bronze medal.
The boys' team, led by Noam Zwilling and Jay Ross, qualified for the finals after showing great ability with two victories over the Danish team (11-10, 9-6) that competed against the Israeli team for a place in the European Championship final against the Czech team. In the final, the Israeli team fell behind early and from there failed to make a comeback, and eventually lost to the local team which is considered one of the best in the world. Geffen Ushishkin from the Gezer 09 team led the way as the team's pitcher, where he recorded 21 strikeouts in a strikeout in just 11 innings. Nevo Karon and Aviv Bobrov from the Misgav team led the team on the offensive side, with 3 hits and 4 RBIs each.
The under-18 team finished the early stage in 3rd place, the team had wonderful displays alongside nerve-wracking losses. The team, under the guidance of Aviv Yaakov and Michael Maronov, led for four innings and was 2 innings away from surprising the Czech team ranked third in the world, but gave up four runs in the late innings to lose 7-4. In the battle for the bronze, the team defeated its counterpart from Croatia 13-1. Another important achievement in the championship is that Assaf Refaeli from the Gezer 09 team and Ivri Margolin from the Misgav team, were among the most valuable players of the tournament.
Gershon Gillette, chairman of the Softball Association, stated: "This is a wonderful summer for Israeli softball. I am proud of the development of the industry in the country, which yields results with the winning of European medals. The hard work of the young people who come from all over the country is showing its worth at a high and impressive level of play. It warms the heart."
Arik Kaplan, President of the 'Eilat' Association, said : "Israeli softball is proving outstanding progress and the recent results prove that it has a great future ahead of it. We at Eilat are working to expand and develop the industry in Israel and to ensure that the international results will continue to bring respect to the State of Israel. Thank you so much to the players and coaches for a great job. "