Tuesday, August 17 - This game was dedicated to team founder Mitch Lechter, who was unable to attend this contest.  On this night, Black Hats bats were on fire!  We scored a season high six runs in the first inning.  Sam started the contest with a double that inspired the rest of the lineup.  We ultimately fell behind but never gave up.  Nearly every player had at least one run scored, RBI, and/or smash hit as we manufactured double digit production resulting in the closest margin of any game this year.  Once again, deduct a single inning and the Black Hats reign victorious.  Being the classy squad we are, at times the Black Hats continued its giving ways.  As soon as we learn that while most giving is good stinginess is OK with baseball, the left side of the ledger will be filled.  And as I like to say, no injuries meant yet another win in the way that matters most.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter; Joel Altman-Shafer and Joel Winston, catcher; Sender Kittner, first base; Seth Brauner, second base; Sruli Robbins (making his season debut and a fine one at that!), shortstop; Andrew Gorman, third base; and Sam Smulyan, Levi Shmotkin, Ross Abrams (who even though announced he was done for the year could not resist coming back!), and Yossi Duboff in the outfield.

Many magical moments: Andrew did his best Graig Nettles impersonation with a stellar snatch of a screaming one hopper at third and then gracefully stepped on that bag for a forceout.  Seth enjoyed a perfect game at the plate.  Ross scorched a triple at the end of the game.  Both Yossi and Levi crushed balls that I was sure would result in homers only to see the outfielder in Fredonia make the catch.  Avner and David had run producing line shots.  And even yours truly had a solid base hit.  When the competition uttered “nice game” at the conclusion, they meant it.

I thought it might be interesting to have a picture of fans in attendance albeit from a side view.  Fans present but not shown include Mitch Spector and members of the Brauner, Lechter, and Altman-Shafer families (including our recent graduate daughter Shoshi from Chicago).  As always, thank you for your unparalleled support.

This week’s Black Hats spotlight shines upon a father-son doubleheader: Sam and David Smulyan.  Sam has been our primary leadoff hitter since he first started playing with the squad several seasons ago and provides a steadying presence in the outfield.  Sam consistently plays a significant role when we have a splashy inning.  While Sam delights our fans with his gifted athleticism, diving and twisting for spectacular plays, he also is sure handed with the more routine.  He is a gambler on the basepaths (which does not always amuse his father) but generally advances to scoring position or tallies that run.  While we do not tabulate advanced stats (maybe we should), it is likely that Sam is our leading scorer this season.  Sam is our most popular player with the fans and leads the team with most requests for autographs.  The Black Hats have been the beneficiaries of Sam’s friends joining him at several games.  Because of players like Sam and our farm system, the future looks very bright.  Thank you, Sam!

And David?  First and foremost, David is a mensch.  David has done an outstanding job as the Black Hats manager this season.  Being the leader of our squad requires fortitude and patience; David has those qualities in spades.  While he is competitive during Black Hats clashes, he invariably leads the postgame kids’ contests for our thriving farm system as he did on this night. 

David has not played much in the field this season, choosing to concentrate on his manager duties and making sure that each player participates and succeeds as much as possible.  When he has played it has been mostly at first base with a few innings logged on the pitching mound.  He has recently put himself in the batting lineup on a regular basis.  He is an aggressive hitter who has gotten his share of base hits.

Personally, I have greatly enjoyed many Black Hats moments as manager and David as coach and now vice versa.  No matter the score, we always find a way to find the positive and have fun with the entire squad. 

David has contributed to the Shul and to all of Milwaukee in a multitude of ways.  He is very civic minded and deeply committed to his various communities.  He has served as the President of the Fox Point - Bayside School Board and on the Bayside Planning Commission. He also served in officer capacities on the Board of two of the Ovation Community locations — the main campus downtown and Terova (formerly known as the Sarah Chudnow Campus). But most of all, he is immensely proud of his family (as well he should be): Sam, daughter Stephanie, and wife Betty. 

The Smulyan family has contributed immensely to the Black Hats fabric; thank you for all that you do!

I cannot remember the last season we had such a tight knit group with the Black Hats.  It has been such a pleasure to watch so many families become an integral part of our team!  Thank you all so much!

Next week’s contest, our last of the season, is To Be Announced but might be found elsewhere in the ETorah.  Attend our finale and become the roar of the crowd!