July 27, 2021 - We are grateful that July 27 provided us with yet another beautiful night for baseball. Your Black Hats squared off against Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid with its seemingly limitless pool of talent from which to draw. If one took away two innings from our game, the Black Hats would have secured a victory. I do not say a “win” because every night that the Black Hats play together without injury is a win.

We are seeing weekly progress with your Black Hats. Players are unafraid to try new positions to help the entire team in any possible way. Our comradery has never been stronger.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter; Joel Winston, catcher (more on Joel below); David Smulyan, first base; Seth Brauner, second base; Yossi Bassman, shortstop; Joel Altman-Shafer, third base; and Ross Abrams, Sam Smulyan, Levi Shmotkin, and Yossi Duboff in the outfield.

A few stellar moments: Levi had two RBIs; Yossi Bassman almost single handedly provided all the putouts for an entire inning; and David and Avner both scorched line shots too hot for the defense to handle. We were short on players on this night, so Manager David and Coach Joel Winston were pressed into action. All of that said, the clear highlight of the night was Joel Winston providing critical energy to the team and scoring what will always be known as a “stealth” run. He singled and then moved to each base (“station to station”, mostly on ground balls) in a wily manner before scoring; the opposition never knew what hit them. Now THAT is an unforgettable season debut!

Faces in the bleachers included Craig Abrams and members from the Brauner, Cabrera, and Avner Lechter families. As always, thank you for your strong support.

This week’s Black Hats spotlight focuses on Joel Winston. Joel grew up on the northwest side of Milwaukee; he attended John Marshall High School. Joel’s grandfather was a member of Beth Jehudah with Rabbi Twerski, developed a personal connection with him, and became an integral part of that synagogue. Joel is married to Nancy (a therapist and pianist/accompanist) and they have two kids: daughter Nicole who works locally at Pet Supplies Plus and son Andrew, a software engineer at Epic in Madison. Joel has four siblings including an identical twin. Joel is a psychotherapist who specializes in hypnosis; he shares a practice with two brothers. Joel is an ardent fan of the local sports teams: Packers, Brewers (including a stint as a Brewers cheerleader), and Bucks. Joel is also a gardener and enjoys fishing.

Joel initially joined the Black Hats a few years ago when Rabbi Cheski held a meeting. Shortly after this meeting, Joel developed a friendship with David Cabrera as a neighbor; Joel eventually returned to the team to help support the Cabrera family. Joel has enjoyed his affiliation with the Shul; he sees the Shul as a kind, caring place. How right he is!! We are so glad that Joel is part of the team.

An impromptu kid’s game took place on grass (the field was being used) after our contest with all participants getting on base. Our farm system looks very strong!

Next week’s game is To Be Announced. The weather has been great; come join us and spend some quality family time both with your own brood and the Black Hats family.