Israel falls to Netherlands to suffer first loss in World Baseball Classic

Israel falls to Netherlands to suffer first loss in World Baseball Classic”

Israel, which came into the classic ranked 41st in the world - the only team in the tournament not in the top twenty - has beaten third-ranked Korea, fourth-ranked Chinese Taipei, and seventh-ranked Netherlands to continue its improbable run.

The first reaction in the US, at least, was to hail the band of unheralded bearded guys, all but one from the USA with varying degrees of religious conviction, playing under the Israeli flag in the name of promoting baseball in the Jewish state.

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"Before the game, we didn't know Israel had such good players", Marti said through an interpreter. All the rest of the players are American Jews, most of whom have never been to Israel and do not have Israeli passports. While most of the team are comprised of American minor leaguers, there is one Israeli on the team.

Another victory over the Netherlands would have put Israel on the verge of advancing to the last four at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Facing a likely must-win game to stay alive in the tournament-the Netherlands had lost to Japan in 11 innings to open Pool E play on Sunday-the Dutch got their revenge and then some, scoring 10 runs in the first four innings and battering Israel starter Corey Baker and relievers Jeremy Bleich and Danny Burawa. But there is growing interest in the sport, thanks in part to the team's success.

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Showing great defense, turning three double plays, and making two outfield assists, Team Israel held on to beat Team Netherlands 4 - 2 and go undefeated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic in Seoul, shocking the baseball world. But that didn't dampen their enthusiasm.

WBC rules allow for players who live in one country to play for another, and Israel, with one homegrown player, has taken full advantage.

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"I love the Mensch on the Bench and the fact that they're proud of being Jewish, he added."I am, too".

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