Fall isn’t just for football.
The Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League has a fall version, a six-team league that plays a compact six-week schedule of five Sundays of regular-season doubleheaders and playoffs on the final Sunday.
Fall league organizer Steve Atchman does his best to make the teams competitive, mixing and matching players from different temples and synagogues. That’s unlike the summer, when players represent their temple or synagogue.
Atchman outdid himself this fall. There was a tremendous amount of parity in the league.
Three teams tied for first place in the regular-season standings, and the fourth-place team was only a game out of first place.
Marble Rye, Kosher Ribs and the Jeters were 7-3. The Homeruntaschens were 6-4.
The Sandlot (2-8) and Bad News Jews (1-9) rounded out the standings. Achtman, by the way, was on the Bad News Jews.
Marble Rye and Kosher Ribs each received a bye in the first round of the playoffs, held Oct. 21 at Community Sports Park in West Bloomfield, thanks to the league’s tie-breaker formula.
The Homeruntaschens beat The Sandlot 13-6, and the Jeters defeated the Bad News Jews 7-0 in opening-round playoff games. Semifinal games saw Marble Rye beat the Jeters 15-3 and the Homeruntaschens beat Kosher Ribs 12-10.
It came down to Marble Rye and the Homeruntaschens in the playoff championship game, and Marble Rye won 14-8, coming from behind after trailing 7-1 in the second inning.
Richard Jacobs is Marble Rye’s manager. He’s had that job since the fall league’s inception six years ago.
Jacobs also is the manager of the Congregation Shaarey Zedek summer team, one of the Inter-Congregational League’s original six teams. Shaarey Zedek won the league’s first championship in 1996.
“Both the summer and fall leagues are competitive, but there’s also great camaraderie among the players,” Jacobs said. “That’s especially true in the fall, when you play on the same team with guys from other summer teams.”
This fall’s Marble Rye team was made up of Gary Yashinsky and his sons Joey and Sam Yashinsky, Steve Flam, Stephen Maiseloff, Richard Elias, Gary Klinger, Lonnie Pukoff, Nathan Cohen, Justin Bayer, David Banooni, Larry Dell and Steve Rosenblatt.
“It’s not unusual to have fathers and sons on the same team in our league,” Jacobs said.
So why Marble Rye? Jacobs said the team name is a homage to a popular episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld.
The episode’s story line involves a missing loaf of marble rye bread and Jerry Seinfeld stealing the last loaf of marble rye sold that day at Schnitzer’s Bakery from an elderly woman.
Ramifications from the theft were part of the show’s finale in 1998.
The Inter-Congregational summer league has grown from six to 18 teams and has been divided into three six-team divisions since 2017, with the divisions based on competition levels.
Jacobs thinks the division setup is a good idea.
Shaarey Zedek, which “hadn’t come close” to winning another league title since its 1996 championship, according to Jacobs, won the Rosen Division regular-season title in 2017 and moved up to the Koufax Division for the 2018 season.
“The competition levels in the Koufax and Rosen divisions are about the same,” Jacobs said. “There’s a big jump in the Greenberg Division.”
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