Israel Notches Second Straight Upset Victory at World Baseball Classic in Seoul; Watch Players Don Kippahs During ‘Hatikvah’
Buoyed by an offensive onslaught that featured home runs by Ryan Lavarnway and Nate Freiman, Israel on Tuesday notched its second upset victory in as many days at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Seoul, defeating Chinese Taipei 15-7.
With its two wins (the first of which was a 2-1 extra-inning nail-biter over Korea on Monday), it appears likely that Israel will advance to the quadrennial tournament’s second round, which begins on Sunday in Tokyo. Israel’s final game in Pool A play at the Gocheok Sky Dome — against the Netherlands — is scheduled for 10 p.m. US Eastern time on Wednesday (12 p.m. Thursday Korea time).
The championship round will take place in Los Angeles on March 20-22.
Israel’s manager, Jerry Weinstein, told MLB.com on Tuesday, “One of the goals is to not put the cart before the horse. We’re not in the second round yet. We’re preparing for the game with the Netherlands and that’s what we’re thinking about right now. My experience has been that when you start getting ahead of yourself, you get out in the future, you’re not taking care of the present. We need to take care of what we’re doing here right now and when we know we’re going to be in next round, then we’ll start talking about the next round.”
World Baseball Classic rules allow players to compete for any countries in which they qualify for citizenship. This enables Israel to draw on the talent of non-native Jewish athletes who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.
Watch Team Israel’s players don kippahs during the playing of “Hatikvah” — the Jewish state’s national anthem — in Seoul below:
מרגש! התקווה מנוגנת בסיאול באליפות העולם, כל שחקני נבחרת ישראל בבייסבול חובשים כיפות כחולות pic.twitter.com/D1tJTTFo8z
— אורן אהרוני (@Oren_Aharoni) March 7, 2017