Israel advances to World Baseball Classic qualifier final
1-0 victory over Brazil assures team will play in championship game Sunday.
Israel's national baseball team continued its hot streak Friday, defeating Brazil 1-0 on Day 2 in the qualifying round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Brooklyn, NY.
The game was a pitchers duel, with both teams being held to three hits. Fortunately for Israel one of those hits provided a run when in the fourth inning Cody Decker drove in Nate Freiman — who reached second base earlier in the inning with a double — with a sacrifice fly. Pitcher Corey Baker earned the win for Israel while Bo Takahashi took the loss for Brazil.
Israel advances straight to Sunday's 6 p.m. ET championship game. Brazil next plays an elimination game on Saturday against the winner of Friday night's Pakistan-Great Britain matchup. MLB.com reports that whoever wins that game on Saturday will stay alive and move on to Sunday's winner-take-all final game.
Sunday's winner will become the 16th and final team in the WBC (scheduled for March 2017), joining 15 countries already in the WBC field: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.
Israel missed out on the 2013 tournament after a heartbreaking extra-innings loss to Spain, but used a four-run seventh inning rally against Great Britain on Thursday night to capture an important first win in this double-elimination weekend tournament, played at the home of the New York Mets' Class A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones.
"Every time we'd see each other, which we saw each other a lot over the last four years, we'd always bring (2013) it up," third baseman Cody Decker said following the game. "We wanted to do this. We wanted to win."
For Israel, former Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway had three hits Thursday, while Decker, a member of the San Diego Padres' minor league system, doubled and added a sacrifice fly.
The team features several other former big leaguers including first baseman Ike Davis, pitcher Jason Marquis, and pitcher Craig Breslow, who got the win Thursday night. Former MLB manager Jerry Narron is helping coach the team. Pitcher Dean Kremer, who recently became the first Israeli to be drafted by a major league ball club, is also on the team.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: Sports