There’s no doubt the Temple Israel No. 5 team had a lot of fun en route to its Greenberg Division championship this season in the InterCongregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League.

“Our team always had a great time on the field,” said manager Andrew Kaye. “About half our team was known for staying out very late the night before (the Sunday league games) and showing up to the field with stories to tell. We would share our shenanigans from the night before and — in our own heads — entertain everyone around us.”

All that aside, Temple Israel No. 5 won the title in the division for the league’s best team with a 19-10 win over Temple Israel No. 6 in the playoff championship game.

The 18-team league was split into divisions for the first time, using competition level to determine a team’s placement. There were three six-team divisions.

Kaye gave a thumb’s up to the new setup.

“It was much better than the former format,” he said. “Many games were more competitive because you played most of your games against teams from your division.

“But I don’t think top division teams should play bottom division teams. The gap in the level of play is too large and sometimes there’s even a safety concern.”

Kaye said he’d like to see the first- and last-place teams in each division move up or down the next season when possible.

Temple Israel No. 5 was a new team this year, formed with several players who wanted to join the league but weren’t on a team.

“Our team was special because top to bottom, we could hit,” Kaye said. “Having players batting 8-10 in the lineup who could hit allowed us to string together some huge innings.

“We had six players older than 55 so speed wasn’t our forte, but the ability to score runs separated us from the pack.”

Besides Kaye, the roster included Bruce Kaye, Michael Kaye, Jordan Kaye, Matt Riley, Mark Riley, Austin Jacobs, Danny Harwood, Todd Kaluzny, Lyle Schaefer, Rick Sherline, Nick Guttman, Chip Morrow, Barry Fishman and David Henkin.

Asked to provide some interesting facts about his team, Andrew Kaye stepped out of the batter’s box and took some good-natured swings. Here are some examples (with the permission of the players named:) Bruce Kaye “slid into second base for a double and we didn’t have to make an appointment for him at Beaumont Hospital.”

Mark Riley “didn’t fight with his brother Matt a single time during the season.”

If a player needed sunscreen, “Danny Harwood was the go-to guy. He was very good about always remembering sunscreen.”

Jacobs “doesn’t like chocolate. I think there’s something wrong with him.”

Michael Kaye “has the best hair on the team. It’s absolutely fabulous.”

As for Fishman, “he’s the fastest player and best home run hitter in the league, but he purposely doesn’t run hard or hit home runs so everyone else doesn’t feel bad about themselves.”

Kaluzny “hit a lot of doubles this year. I guess he just doesn’t have home run power.”

Fall Softball
Six teams and 80 players began play Sunday in the InterCongregational Men’s Club annual fall softball league at Drake Sports Park in West Bloomfield.

Each team will play a doubleheader on five successive Sundays, with a playoff day Oct. 22 concluding the season.

Unlike the InterCongregational summer softball league, fall teams have players from several synagogues and temples. Each manager can keep seven players from his previous year’s team. Most of the remaining players land on teams through random draws.

There are six teams each fall.

It’s A Start
Fifteen men attended the inaugural InterCongregational Men’s Club bowling night Sept. 6 at Langan’s Nor-West Lanes in Farmington Hills.

The turnout was just fine with event organizer Steve Achtman, who thinks sports are a great way to bring together men from across the Jewish community.

“Nine guys bowled. Six came just for dinner,” Achtman said. “I think everyone had a good time. A lot of guys didn’t know each before that night. Hopefully some friendships were established.

“It would have been nice to have more guys there, but you have to start somewhere.”

Achtman said two casual sports events a year are planned, and there’s a tentative date and location for the next event: April 11 at Buddy’s Pizza in Novi and the Novi Putting Edge mini-golf course next door.

Baseball Bronze
Here are some final notes from the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest held in August in Miami.

  • Detroit baseball players were on bronze medal-winning 14U and 16U teams.

Mitch Blackman, Darin Char, Brandon Gladstone and Zachary Shiffman played on a 14U team with players from Philadelphia. The team went 4-3.

Ilan Farabi and Adam Gordon were on a 16U team with players from Los Angeles, JCC on the Hudson (Tarrytown, N.Y.) and San Antonio. They went 5-2.

  • Detroit’s participants in ArtsFest were Benny Kirshner and Celia Lipton in improv, Lily Kollin in rock band and Caitlin Finerty in Star Reporter.

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