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Friday, August 23, 2019

Eli Rotenberg firing fastballs for the Teaneck 8U Baseball all-stars earlier this season.

While most of their contemporaries were busy spending the beginning of vacation time either at day camp or traveling with family, 13 brave 8 year olds were representing Teaneck in the now annual Northeast Bergen all-star baseball league which pits local towns against each other. This season, the American Conference, in which Teaneck played, included teams from Cresskill, Emerson, Woodcliff Lake, Paramus, Ramsey, Tenafly and Oradell. Teaneck’s entry was represented by a contingent of 13 youngsters largely from the TBO spring league. The Teaneck team just completed the regular season component of the schedule with an excellent record of 8-2. The season was highlighted by a 2-0 shutout road victory over the New Milford squad (the latter’s only loss of the season). Teaneck was led on that occasion (as in all its victories) by the strong pitching of freshman lefty Eli Rotenberg who allowed a total of seven runs in the 22 innings he pitched during the season, ending with a 7-1 record. But Teaneck’s pitching staff was deep indeed, as Etan Naor, Reuven Rosenbaum and Ami Goldsmith threw 28 strong innings from the right side of the mound.

As everyone knows, pitchers don’t operate in a vacuum: they need an effective, compatible battery-mate. In the case of Teaneck, the pitchers threw to the incomparable and popular Sam Kantowitz who played almost every inning behind home plate and contributed timely hits as well!

Teaneck’s defense was extremely sound and consistent, led by Goldsmith at shortstop routinely displaying soft hands. Moshe Oshinsky played first and third; Rosenbaum, Naor and Rotenberg also played the infield when not pitching. The outfield was ably patrolled by a quintet of players: Naftali Simon, Corey Cyrulnik, Netanel Weiderkehr, Eitan Geliebter and Jordan Greenstein. Yoli Eiselt was a late season depth edition to the squad.

Teaneck’s offense was very solid as well. Lead off Kobe Baron set the table for the Teaneck batting order that typically featured Rosenbaum, Naor and Goldsmith in that order. There was a lot of pop in their bats.

None of the above would have mattered were it not for the formidable coaching of manager Tony Rumero who expertly guided the team through the difficult schedule, ably assisted by coaches Aaron Simon and Ofer Naor. The team had many family supporters and fans who never missed a game. The boys never disappointed, always playing hard and fair until the last pitch.

It’s now on to the playoffs, with Teaneck scheduled to play in the quarterfinals during the upcoming week.

By Joseph Rotenberg