Team Israel is steaming ahead in the World Baseball Classic.
The team defeated Korea in the first game of the World Baseball Classic, 2-1, in the 10th inning on Monday, March 6, in Seoul.
Team Israel had eight hits to Korea’s seven in the hard-fought game.
Later that day, Team Israel beat Taipei, 15-7, with a homer hit by Colorado resident Ryan Lavarnway.
On Wednesday, March 8, Israel beat out the Netherlands, 4-2.
This is the first year that the Israeli team has qualified for the quadrennial baseball tournament, in which 16 countries are represented. In 2012, Israel’s inaugural WBC team narrowly missed making the tournament.
This was the first time that American Jewish baseball players, including several current and former MLB players, are representing Israel in a world championship.
WBC rules state that players who are eligible for citizenship of a country may play on that country’s team.
The team’s manager is Jerry Weinstein of the Colorado Rockies farm system.
The IJN recently interviewed Weinstein and Lavarnway ahead of the WBC (“Team Israel prepares for World Baseball”).
Israel is the only participant in this year’s tournament not currently among the top 20 in the world rankings. Israel is ranked 41st in the world.
The game was not broadcast on any of Israel’s major television channels or sports channels.
In an article published on Sunday, ESPN described the Israeli team as “the Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC.”