Israel advances to 2017 World Baseball Classic
Team celebrates first-ever berth in international tournament.
Seeking redemption, Israel's national baseball team found it Sunday in the form of an emphatic 9-1 victory over Great Britain, earning the 16th and final spot in next year's World Baseball Classic.
Israel missed out on the 2013 tournament after a heartbreaking extra-innings loss to Spain, but will now join 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 will play in Pool B with South Korea, the Netherlands and Taiwan. The tournament is scheduled to begin March 7 in Seoul, South Korea.
Team Israel was powered by two-run homers from Blake Gailen and Ryan Lavarnway in the fifth inning and a strong performance on the mound from right-handed pitcher Josh Zeid, who pitched three innings allowing no hits, while walking one and striking out three.
Sunday's win followed two strong performances earlier in the week in this qualifying round double-elimination weekend tournament, played at the home of the New York Mets' Class A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones.
On Friday they defeated Brazil 1-0 and the day before they defeated Great Britain 5-2.
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