Ukiah, Northgate to play for A.L. Rabinovitz Memorial Tournament title
The A.L. Rabinovitz Memorial Baseball Tournament has always been about family.
That encompasses the extended Rabinovitz family, from children to great-grandchildren, but also includes the broader “baseball family” of coaches and former players who, after decades of the Rabinovitz family’s involvement in the sport in Santa Rosa, number in the hundreds.
Two of this year’s eight coaches played under tournament director Mickey Rabinovitz at Montgomery High School. Sequoia coach Corey Uhalde and Analy’s Casey Cunningham both played for Rabinovitz and competed in the tournament as high schoolers. Both were back on the fields leading their teams Tuesday.
Ukiah and Northgate (of Walnut Creek, one of two invited teams from out of the area) face off in the championship game Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Montgomery.
Ukiah defeated Piner, 8-4, in Round 1 and held off Sequoia of Redwood City 9-6 on Tuesday to advance to the title game. Northgate downed Maria Carrillo 5-2 and outlasted Analy 9-8 in eight innings Tuesday to advance.
Uhalde will coach in the ?third-place game Wednesday against Cunningham’s Tigers.
Analy held tough in both its games, winning 6-5 on a walkoff hit against Windsor, but gave up two runs in the eighth to Northgate.
Ukiah reached the championship game after the two highest-scoring games of the day.
In Round 2, the Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against Sequoia on a Duncan Kindopp double to right field, followed by two walks and a hit batter, which forced Kindopp home.
Ukiah added four more in the fifth on a Sequoia error, three hit batters and two base hits, building a 5-0 lead.
Wildcats starter Daniel Smith held the Cherokees in check through four, allowing just one hit and striking out eight into the fifth. But then Sequoia strung together five hits and scored three to pull to within two runs.
Sequoia added another in the sixth on a deep double to left by Tyler Caldwell, who scored on an infield squibber that got past first base.
But Ukiah put it away with a four-run, two-out rally in the seventh, aided by two Sequoia misplays and a wild pitch.
Wildcats coach Stephen Summers said after last year’s poor showing at the tournament, it was nice to be successful.
“Daniel was commanding his fastball on both sides of the plate,” he said, adding that Sequoia’s runs were the first earned runs Smith has given up this year.
Smith got the win while his brother, Jorden, came on in relief to pick up the save.
Sequoia’s Uhalde said coaching at the tournament brings his baseball career full circle, from when he played junior varsity for Mickey Rabinovitz and varsity for Vikings coaches Russ Peterich and Dean Haskins.
“I don’t think I’d be in coaching if it weren’t for some of the lessons I learned when I was here,” he said. “Not just the baseball lessons but the life lessons they taught us.”
Carrillo and Piner, which lost their first games but won in Round 2, will play for the consolation title.
Montgomery had bad luck in its own tournament, losing 5-0 to Sequoia and 6-3 to Piner, and will play for seventh place.
The tournament honors Al and Leona Rabinovitz, who were married for more than 55 years and steadfastly supported local baseball. Their son, Mickey, was a longtime Montgomery baseball coach and leads the tournament each year.
The tournament actually was started in 1968 by the late Ruben Beseda, the head coach at Santa Rosa, when it was called the Santa Rosa Easter Tournament and included 16 teams from Northern California. The name changed to the Montgomery Invitational in 1977 when it became an eight-team format.
This year’s event is the 25th anniversary under the Rabinovitz banner, and includes eight teams and is played at four Santa Rosa sites: Montgomery, Doyle Park, Maria Carrillo and Piner.
You can reach staff writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @loriacarter.