Kosher Ribs celebrates its Inter-Congregational Men’s Club fall softball league championship. Mitch Kline couldn’t play in the playoffs, but Evan Kline made sure his father was in the Kosher Ribs team photo, holding a cellphone showing Mitch Kline on a FaceTime call.
Kosher Ribs celebrates its Inter-Congregational Men’s Club fall softball league championship. Mitch Kline couldn’t play in the playoffs, but Evan Kline made sure his father was in the Kosher Ribs team photo, holding a cellphone showing Mitch Kline on a FaceTime call. (Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Softball League)

Kosher Ribs went on to defeat Bad News Jews 20-10 in the playoff championship game.

A walk-off home run that wasn’t a walk-off home run helped Kosher Ribs win the Inter-Congregational Men’s Club fall softball league championship.

Here’s what happened.

Like many recreational softball leagues, the Inter-Congregational league restricts the number of over-the-fence home runs a team can hit during a game to keep the game competitive.

In the Inter-Congregational league’s case, after a team’s second over-the-fence homer of a game, the batter hitting an over-the-fence homer is out.

Kosher Ribs led the defending fall league champion Jeters 15-14 in the playoff semifinals Oct. 10 at Keith Sports Park in West Bloomfield.

The Jeters hit a walk-off over-the-fence homer that would have won the game, but it became the final out of the game because it was the Jeters’ third over-the-fence homer of the game.

“That was a huge break for us, of course, but we hit four over-the-fence homers in the game. Only two counted,” said Kosher Ribs co-manager Mitch Kline.

Kosher Ribs went on to defeat Bad News Jews 20-10 in the playoff championship game.

Neither Kosher Ribs nor Bad News Jews earned a first-round bye in the playoffs because of where they finished in the regular-season standings.

Kosher Ribs was third and Bad News Jews was fourth in the six-team league.

Kosher Ribs beat the Sandlot 16-4 and Bad News Jews beat Marble Rye 10-5 in first-round playoff games. The Sandlot and Marble Rye were the No. 6 and No. 5 seeded teams in the playoffs, respectively.

Bad News Jews surprised No. 1 seed and regular-season league champion Lox of Hitting 7-6 in the playoff semifinals.

All the playoff games were played Oct. 10, a week later than planned. The playoff games were originally scheduled for Oct. 3 but rained out.

Kosher Ribs and Bad News Jews each had only nine players Oct. 10. To help them, Dave Ettlinger from Lox of Hitting volunteered to be the catcher for both teams during the playoff championship game.

“That’s the story of the game right there, what Dave did,” Kline said.

Another story is Kline, who missed his first Inter-Congregational summer or fall softball game in several years Oct. 10 because of a prior commitment.

His son Evan Kline, who plays on the Kosher Ribs team, kept his father informed on how the team was doing during the playoffs through calls and texts, and propped his phone in the Kosher Ribs dugout during the Bad News Jews’ final at-bats so his father could watch the proceedings.

Kosher Ribs didn’t have its two regular third baseman during the playoff games. Dave Raminick filled in all day for Brad Golder and Michael Kindred.

There were a dozen players on the Kosher Ribs roster. They represented four Inter-Congregational summer league teams.

Mitch and Evan Kline along with Golder, Raminick, Jared Cohen and Dan Krauss were from Temple Shir Shalom
No. 2.

Co-manager Matt Bassin and Scott Litt were from Congregation Shir Tikvah. Jeff Hollander, Lenny Beigler and Kindred were from Temple Beth El. Corey Slutsky was from Temple Israel No. 1.

“It’s a good thing we weren’t rained out again Oct. 10,” Mitch Kline said. “We would have been down five guys Oct. 17. I would have been back, but Matt Bassin and my son Evan ran in the Detroit Free Press Marathon that day.”

Kosher Ribs also won the Inter-Congregational fall league championship in 2019. Cohen and Beigler replaced two players from the 2019 team.

“This team has great chemistry,” Mitch Kline said. “We root for each other. We support each other. Some of us play softball together outside of the Inter-Congregational league.” 

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