WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Three youth sports teams from the Mid-Westchester Jewish Community Center traveled to the 2014 Detroit Maccabi Games in August with the two teams winning gold medals and the other taking silver medal honors.
According to Mid-Westchester's David Katz, the JCC fielded 29 local athletes from Chappaqua, Mount Kisco, Scarsdale, Rockland and New York city on Under-14 Baseball, U-14 Boys Basketball and U-16 Girls Baseball teams in the national event. an in-line hockey player and a golfer also represented the team.
"The Mid-Westchester teams had a great showing," Katz reported. "The boys U-14 Baseball and Basketball teams both took the gold medals, while the girls basketball team won the silver. The JCC’s golfer won multiple gold and silver medals in various skills competitions, and the In-Line hockey player joined the Toronto team for a strong week of competitive hockey."
The annual games were attended by over 1,000 Jewish athletes from all over the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Israel.
After going 2-2 in its first four games, the Boys U-14 baseball team hit its stride in the playoffs and beat the No. 4 seeded Philadelphia team in the quarter-finals 15-6 and the undefeated top-seeded Detroit team in the semi-finals 4-1. The team won the gold medal by defeating the second-seed Toronto team 12-5.
In the three game playoffs, the pitching staff had 29 strikeouts, with 13 in the Gold Medal game.
"Strong pitching was supported by great fielding for all games, with a special call out to the team's catcher for doing a heroic job catching 6 ½ games in the four day stretch," Katz said. "The boys had a great time on and off the field, and came together as a team with single-minded focus to win the gold."
Boys U-14 Basketball
Mid-Westchester JCC’s U-14 team went 3-1 in pool play then swept three playoff games to take home the gold. The team defeated Los Angeles - Westside JCC 58-42 and Kings Bay Y (Brooklyn) 65-29. The next day the team lost to a strong Detroit team at the buzzer 56-55, but rebounded in the afternoon to defeat Minnesota 58-38.
Fifth-seeded into the playoffs, Mid-Westchester topped fourth-seeded Minnesota 73-54, then defeated the top-seeded Palisades, N.J. 53-39.
Mid-Westchester led by 10 points early before Philadelphia dominated the second quarter, going into halftime with a 14-point lead. Down 18, Mid-Westchester used a three-point scoring blitz, dominated the boards and played suffocating defense outscoring Philly by 29 points to take the gold medal 71-60.
Under-16 Girls Basketball
The girls came out of pool play with a 2-2 record with big wins over Rockland and Israel and losses to Toronto and the Samuel Field Y (Queens).
Seeded second in the medal round, the locals faced Israel in the semi-finals. Despite a valiant effort from the Israeli squad, the Mid-Westchester Mighty Six were able to pull out a convincing win.
"The best part of this match-up, however, was the bond that the girls formed with the Israeli players, making friendships that will last a lifetime," Katz said.
The Maccabi games are an annual event, and for 2015 games are planned in Milwaukee on August 2-7 and Ft. Lauderdale on August 9-14. Team sports include baseball, basketball, soccer, in-line hockey and volleyball. Individual sports include table tennis, swimming, golf and tennis.
Those interested in representing Westchester in the 2015 games, please call or email Steve Weisbrot firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-472-7642) to learn more about the program and sign up for the Mid Westchester’s JCC tryout mailing list.