Israel Makes Baseball History

Israel came into the World Baseball Classic as a surprise qualifier and is now advancing to the tournament’s second round as the top seed in its pool.

The team completed its sweep of the other three teams in its pool on Wednesday when it beat the Netherlands, another tournament favorite stacked with major league talent, by a score of 4-2.

The win came by the same formula as its Tuesday win over Taiwan—Israel got out to an early lead with three runs in the first inning and never let up the lead despite having to use nine different pitchers to secure the win.

Netherlands, which like Israel defeated both South Korea and Taiwan, will still advance to the second round of the tournament as the second seed from the pool.

The next games will be played over the weekend in Tokyo, Japan, against the teams that advance out of a pool that includes tournament powerhouses Japan and Cuba. Israel, as the top seed, will play the second seed from that group.

Israel’s first baseman Nate Freiman, who has gotten out to a hot start in the tournament, says that he doesn’t think people will be as surprised if Israel advances again.

“Our goal going into Tokyo is the same as our goal coming into Seoul, and that’s to advance to the next round,” Freiman said. “Coming into Seoul, saying we are coming into this pool and we want to advance, that might have struck some people as a little unlikely. But I think now, maybe a little bit less.”

Israel became the first team in tournament history to enter as a qualifier and sweep its first round of games.

Outfielder Zach Borenstein said that the team never felt like “underdogs,” despite being branded that way by nearly everyone.

“I think that coming into the tournament, a lot of people saw us as huge underdogs, but we never saw it that way,” Borenstein said. “And as far as what it means for Israel, it’s huge. It gives more recognition to baseball and hopefully more attention on baseball and Israel.”

The post Israel Makes Baseball History appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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