Tuesday, June 14th - Last week was chilly; this week, sweltering. Welcome to Wisconsin! On this sauna Black Hats baseball night, YOUR Black Hats faced Emanu El (EE) and Metro at Brown Deer Park. EE had one victory prior; they now have two. Metro had a record of 4-3 entering play; they are now 4-4. YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY; YOUR Black Hats broke through in a big way with a solid 9-4 victory!! It was terrific to celebrate a decisive team win!

Only a few comments regarding the first game: Berel Yanover returned to the delight of his teammates and fans. Berel, we wish you nothing but the best going forward. Long time Black Hat Josh Liberman made his season debut; it was fantastic having him back. Yosef Baldon came all the way from Madison to join our team for the second time. Yosef’s family members mother Shahanna, sister Amira (a great player in her own right), and Harriet and Steve witnessed Yosef’s strong showing. Finally, nobody got hurt.

Simply stated, the second game was the best overall team performance I have seen from the Black Hats in a long time. In softball, with a relatively low score 9-4, the story starts with pitching and defense; we played exceptional defense throughout as we limited Metro to single runs in four of the five innings. We did not make errors and did not succumb to the “big inning” that has consistently been our downfall. David continued to bathe in the Fountain of Youth with strong pitching in a blistering climate. Cheski, Josh, and Seth each made outstanding plays in the infield; hot line drives were disintegrated by the Hoover vacuum glovework. Ross made a critical catch in the outfield. Every player rose to the occasion.

On offense, the Black Hats batted around in a seven run second inning; that means everyone hit at least once in the same inning. Besides being our spiritual leader, Cheski has been a leader on offense and that continued. Joe Ellner smashed a decisive two run double and Sam crushed a three-run homer. Josh obliterated a ball that went just foul. Every player got on base at least once.

The trend of Black Hats regulars having prior commitments continued so some players were not in their usual defensive positions. Around the horn: pitcher David Smulyan; Joel Altman-Shafer and Scott Hicks, catcher; Joe Ellner and Rabbi Cheski Edelman, first base; Joe Ellner and Seth Brauner, second base; Josh Liberman, shortstop; Scott Hicks and Rabbi Cheski

Edelman, third base; and Levi Shmotkin, Yosef Baldon, Sam Smulyan, Ross Abrams, Scott Hicks, and Berel Yanover in the outfield.

Spectators featured Craig Abrams and Lisa Glick, Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, and members from the Brauner, Lechter, Liberman, and Schapiro families. Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned. As always, thank you for your support.

Doubleheader next week on Tuesday, June 21, both at Brown Deer Field 2 (near the playground): 6 PM, yet ANOTHER Metro rematch and Sinai at 7 PM. Please see directions previously sent for getting to Brown Deer Park. Can the Black Hats make it two consecutive wins against Metro? Show up to find out (soap operas have nothing on this)!

Please check out these wonderful pictures, courtesy Mitchell Spector and Craig Abrams. Thank you to both.

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Tuesday, June 7th - On this chilly Black Hats baseball night, YOUR Black Hats faced CBINT twice at Brown Deer Park. CBINT plays the game the right way; they have some homegrown talent and are fundamentally sound. They also graciously waited for our full complement to arrive so we would not have to forfeit. It was a pleasure to face them.

Like last week, several Black Hats regulars had prior commitments so some players were not in their usual defensive positions.

Despite the final scores, the Black Hats had no shortage of highlights starting with Scott Hicks. A Black Hats rookie, Scott has already made an indelible impression on the entire team and our fans. Even though Scott was not quite 100% to start the games, he was a stalwart at third base. At one point, he made 5 of 6 putouts over two innings (some unassisted) at third base. Scott, it is GREAT having you as a teammate! More about Scott below in the Black Hats spotlight.

Every player got on base at least once. Besides being our spiritual leader, Cheski is quite adept with the bat and has continued his torrid hitting. Avner smacked a ball that is still moving somewhere. David consistently hit sharp line drives to all fields including a two RBI double; somehow, he has turned back Father Time. David and Sam combined for a father-son double play; Sam caught the ball in the outfield and alertly fired back to first base where David stepped on the bag. One reason it is fun to play catcher is so you can hear bench comments from the opposing team. When Sam made a sparkling catch in the outfield, one CBINT player said “How did he catch that ball??!!”; another responded, “Don’t you know? He is the fastest player in the league!!” While I am not sure that is accurate, I would not bet against Sam’s ability to do pretty much anything on the field.

Joel Winston made a phenomenal play at second base; a line drive caromed off the top of Avner’s mitt and arched in midair directly to Joel, who then snagged the ball and tagged the base runner out before he made it to second. It was a huge crowd pleaser! Seth played a stout second base as usual. Joel Altman-Shafer got on base four times (three walks) during the doubleheader.

And well worthy of special mention: the debut of Berel Yanover. In Berel’s first at beat, team founder Mitch Lechter told him (partly in jest) to “put the

barrel (Berel) of the bat on the ball”. Berel did exactly that, smacking a clean base hit. Berel, we need you to come back again next week!

This week’s Black Hats spotlight features Scott Hicks. Here is an introduction to Scott in his own words:

I am a Wisconsin kid and grew up on Little Muskego Lake back when there were mainly cornfields. I typically came home muddy and wet; my love for the water and nature has never ceased.

My undergraduate degree came from UW-La Crosse and included a year abroad in Swansea, Wales. I spent several years in London after graduating and eventually moved back to the US - Boston at first and then returning to Wisconsin. I was married 13 years to a woman from England. Both of our adult children, Ethan (21) and Amelia (19), were born in Madison and graduated from Whitefish Bay High School.

I spent 17 years in the financial sector and then ran a bar on the East Side of Milwaukee. For the last six years I have worked with Property Casualty Insurance for large corporations. I thoroughly enjoy the Brewers, Packers and Bucks! Fishing, painting w/ acrylic, cooking, and building things are also passions.

Regarding this fantastic team: my introduction to the Black Hats came from Ilana Cymerman Cabrera. I had heard many stories about her husband David and how special the team was to him. She gave me one of last year's shirts honoring and celebrating his legacy. It was as Ilana's guest at the Shul this past winter that I met a few team members and was asked if I had interest in playing softball. I had not played in over a decade! Nonetheless, I am so pleased to be part of this team. I enjoy both the team members and love seeing all of the support (Levi and Benny too) come out every Tuesday. While I'm often sore every Wednesday, I would not trade this opportunity. The camaraderie and support through play is tremendous. Thank you for showing interest in me and making me feel so comfortable with such a terrific group and community.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner Tarica Lechter and David Smulyan; Joel Winston and Joel Altman-Shafer, catcher; David and Scott Hicks, first base; Joel Winston and Seth Brauner, second base; Rabbi Cheski Edelman,

shortstop; Scott Hicks, third base; and Levi Shmotkin, Avner, Sam Smulyan, Ross Abrams, and Berel in the outfield.

Spectators featured Craig Abrams and Lisa Glick (early on the only two people in the stands), Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, and members from the Brauner, Lechter, and Schapiro families. Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned. As always, thank you for your support.

Doubleheader next week on Tuesday, June 14: 6 PM, Emanu-El (EE) at Brown Deer Field 1 (near the playground) and 7 PM, a Metro rematch at Brown Deer Field 2. Please see directions previously sent for getting to Brown Deer Park. Look forward to seeing you!

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Tuesday, May 31st - On this Black Hats baseball night, YOUR Black Hats faced Ringerville Shalom (Ringers for short) at Brown Deer Park. A few nights ago, I watched the Brewers AA team; it sure looked like some of those same guys on this Ringerville team were playing in that game.

This is my cryptic way of saying we were overmatched from the start. Several Black Hats regulars had prior commitments including graduations (MAZEL TOV! from the entire Black Hats team to all the graduates, their families, teachers, and everyone involved) so several players were not in their usual defensive positions.

Yet, inspired by our many enthusiastic fans, we never gave up. David’s pitches were consistently at and near the plate for the entire game. Andrew owned the shortstop position and Joe made several nifty putouts at first. It was great to see Seth back after a few games’ absence. Last week, I was remiss in omitting Cheski’s strong hitting; this week, he showed that last week was no fluke. Scott and Ross did their commendable best in the outfield. We did not make too many errors to beat ourselves; the other team simply outperformed us.

Last night, the team unveiled this season’s shirts dedicated in memory of our dear friend Joe Perl; many thanks to this season’s sponsors Bykhovsky Law Attorneys at Law, Paragon Numismatics, Karp and Iancu Attorneys at Law, and Lerner Consulting.

Today’s Black Hats spotlight features the debut of Yosef Baldon, one of only a select second generation Black Hats tandems (the others being team cofounder Mitch Lechter and current Black Hat Avner Tarica Lechter and current Black Hats David Smulyan and Sam Smulyan). Yosef’s father Bill played with the Black Hats for several seasons, primarily as an infielder (especially third base) and pitcher. When one Ringer launched one of the hardest hit balls I have ever seen, a moon shot generating strong fan reaction that I thought might land in Germantown, somehow Yosef went all the way back and managed to get his glove on it. Yosef’s range and Howitzer arm somehow limited this hit to a triple. Yosef also accounted for our scoring with a mammoth homer. Welcome to the team, Yosef!

Around the horn: pitcher David Smulyan; Joel Winston, catcher; Joe Ellner, first base; Seth Brauner, second base; Andrew Gorman, shortstop; Rabbi

Cheski Edelman, third base; and Yosef Baldon, Scott Hicks, Ross Abrams, and Joel Altman-Shafer in the outfield.

Spectators featured Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, Craig Abrams and Lisa Glick, Harriet Schacter McKinney and Steve, and members from the Brauner, Cabrera, Edelman, and Schapiro families. Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned. As always, thank you for your support.

Next week on Tuesday, June 7 at 6 PM and 7 PM, YOUR team takes on CBINT twice with both games at Brown Deer Field 1 (near the playground). Please see directions previously sent for getting to Brown Deer Park. Look forward to seeing you!

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Tuesday, May 24th - On a Black Hats baseball night better suited for ice fishing at Brown Deer Park, YOUR Black Hats faced Metro and Maccabi (formerly the JCC team). In each respective opening frame, the Black Hats engaged in its own baseball "scorched earth policy" by erupting for 4 runs in the first game and 6 runs in the second game! Had the umpire fittingly decided that these arctic conditions were not conducive to baseball, we would have won both games! Both contests were highly competitive (the first game was decided by one run with two outs in the final inning). Black Hats pride has never been stronger and our beloved fans certainly got their money's worth. We are truly coming together as a TEAM earning the respect and admiration of each squad in the league; this pertains to every aspect of the Black Hats whether a player, supporting family member, or the Shul in general. This team is special; there has never been a better time to be a Black Hat.

Every player was a positive force as the Black Hats progressed in its ascendency to reach the W column: Avner blasted a home run and had several hits (including 4 for 4 in the first game) on this night. Avner also brought Menachem, Yehuda, Shmuel, and Chaim to our first few games; thank you to each for contributing mightily to the Black Hats fabric. Welcome back to Ross in his season debut: he made a solid catch in right field and sparked a late rally in the second game. Black Hats newcomers Scott Hicks, Alex Wuest, and Menachem made their presence felt both offensively and defensively. Levi Shmotkin continued his baseball rampage (I feel sorry for the obliterated baseball whenever Levi is up). Sports Illustrated contacted Sam Smulyan last night because they would like to do a story on his defense and newly found power stroke. Last week, the Black Hats displayed the dynamic duo of Rabbis; this week, the Black Hats featured the terrific trio with Rabbis Chesky, Bassman, and Schapiro leading the charge (no other team can say this); Rabbi Bassman made several excellent plays at shortstop and had countless hits in both games; he had a stellar 6-3 putout which Rabbi Schapiro caught at 1B for a Rabbi to Rabbi connection. Andrew's consistency in the infield is a steadying influence for all of the Black Hats. Chaim made an excellent catch at home plate preventing a key run from scoring. This team is a pleasure to watch!

Around the horn (significant rotation of some positions so a few names are mentioned multiple times): pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter; Chaim, catcher; Shmuel, first base; Scott and Menachem, second base; Rabbi Yossi Bassman, shortstop; Andrew Gorman, third base; Rabbi Cheski Edelman,

third base; and Levi Shmotkin/Alex Wuest, Sam Smulyan, Menachem/Scott, and Ross in the outfield.

Spectators featured Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, Craig Abrams and Lisa Glick, and members from the Gorman, Cabrera, and Schapiro families. Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned. As always, thank you for your support.

Next week on Tuesday, May 31 at 7 PM, YOUR team takes on Shalom at Brown Deer Field 2. Please see directions previously sent for getting to Brown Deer Park. The only way to see us win is to be there in person!

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Tuesday, May 17th - On a chilly night for Black Hats baseball at Kletzsch Park, YOUR Black Hats faced Rollie's.  And the Black Hats came ready to play!  Many highlights: Avner threw a no hitter for over two innings.  Levi crushed TWO home runs (three for the season) and Sam, always aggressive on the basepaths, also walloped a homer.  The Black Hats certainly have the most formidable pair of Rabbis playing in the entire league: it was great to see Rabbi Cheski play a stout third base and Rabbi Avremi has proven to be Don Mattingly revisited at first base.  Andrew made several sparkling plays at short and crushed liners twice at the plate.  The defense overall showed marked improvement over last week.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter; Joel Altman-Shafer and Chaim, catcher; Rabbi Avremi Schapiro, first base; Joel Winston and Joe Ellner, second base; Andrew Gorman, shortstop; Rabbi Cheski Edelman, third base; and Levi Shmotkin, Sam Smulyan, Yehuda, and Menachem in the outfield.

Today's Black Hats spotlight features new team member Joe Ellner.  Joe and his wife Michele have three children: Zachary, Molly (a student at NCAA basketball champion Kansas [that's why Joe wears all of that Jayhawk stuff]), and Alex (a sophomore at Nicolet).  Joe and Michele are quite active in the community, most recently serving as Co-chairs for KidShare2022.  Joe is Territory Partner for SE Wisconsin for Trupanion, which provides medical insurance for pets.  Joe has ridden on the Friendship Circle bike ride the past couple of years.  Welcome to the team, Joe; we are very glad that you joined us!

Spectators featured Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, Yitzi Forbes, and members from the Gorman, Lechter, and Schapiro families.  Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned.  As always, thank you for your support.

Next week on Tuesday, May 24: WHAT A DEAL!  Two games for the price of one as YOUR team takes on Metro at 6 PM and Maccabi at 7 PM, both at Brown Deer Field 1.  Please see directions previously sent for getting to Brown Deer Park.  Come cheer on the Black Hats!

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Tuesday, May 10th - On a perfect night for Black Hats baseball at Brown Deer Park, Sue Perl threw the ceremonial first pitch in memory of her husband and Black Hats team member, Joe Perl, OBM; Ophir Ben Yitzchak, Joe's long time friend, caught the ball from Sue.  The first pitch was captured on Zoom for those who could not attend in person.  Both Rabbi Cheski (currently on the DL) and Sue delivered inspirational messages; Sue spoke about how Joe impacted countless lives and concluded with a rousing "Let's Go Black Hats!"

Then, YOUR Black Hats opened its season against longtime rival CBINT and followed with the second game of a doubleheader against Temple of Doom.  Many highlights: Levi crushed a ball for a 2 run homer in the first to give the Black Hats an early lead.  Sam had several ESPN worthy highlights in the outfield.  In his Black Hats debut, Joe Ellner played right center in a way that would make Ryan Braun jealous.  Avner was around the plate the entire night and had several strikeouts.  Rabbi Avremi was the most dapper first baseman ever seen and made his presence felt on the basepaths.  David contortioned his body to produce a terrific out at third.  And even yours truly had a "Black Hats" double.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter and David Smulyan; Joel Altman-Shafer and Chaim, catcher; Yehuda and Rabbi Avremi Schapiro, first base; Seth Brauner, second base; Rabbi Yossi Bassman, shortstop; David Smulyan and Joel Altman-Shafer, third base; and Levi Shmotkin, Sam Smulyan, Joe Ellner (making his debut), and Menachem in the outfield.

The spectator area was packed and loud!  Many attended including Mitch Spector and Arlene Dombeck, Craig Abrams and Lisa Glick, Jeff Langer and Reuben, members from the Altman-Shafer, Bojan, Brauner, Edelman, Eskin, Lechter, Schapiro, Scheuer, Schutkin, and Shovers families, and a strong cadre of young women from the Hillel High girls school who cheered on the team, particularly their teachers.  Apologies to anyone else there who was not mentioned.  As always, thank you for your support.

Next week on Tuesday, May 17, your team takes on Rollies at 6 PM at Kletzsch 1.  Partake in an outdoor spectacle and cheer on your team!

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