Following their impressive defeat of Team Germany last night, Team Israel was back on the field in Solingen, Germany this morning for Game 4 against Great Britain. At 1-2, the Brits were hungry for a win, but Israel remained on form to take the game 7-4, and become the first team in the tournament to win four games. Israel is now the top ranked team in Pool A of the tournament; with Italy and Spain, both in Pool B, each at 3-0 to date.
Team Israel was put out in order in the top of the first inning. With Alon Leichman on the mound, Great Britain followed with a strong opening that was punctuated by a 3RBI home run by Ben Andrews that put the team into an early lead.
In the second inning, Israel started easing back into the game. DH Nick Rickles was hit by a pitch, short stop Ty Kelly singled to left field, advancing Rickles to second. Rob Paller walked. Jake Rosenberg grounded into double play, Paller was out on the play; while Kelly advanced to third and Rickles scored. Jeremy Wolf walked, and catcher Tal Erel singled through the left side. Kelly scored Israel’s second run of the inning. Second base Mitch Glasser flied out to center field to end the inning.
Leichman took control of the second inning, striking out Maikel Azcuy. Richard Klijn singled but Brett Rosen grounded into double play to end the inning.
Neither team added any points to the score board in the third and fourth innings. In the top of the fifth, Erel reached on a fielding error by the short stop, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Glasser walked. First base Blake Gailen grounded into double play with Glasser out on the play; Erel advanced to third. Third base Danny Valencia singled to left field, for the RBI to tie the game at 3-3. Rickles reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop and Valencia was out at second.
Joey Wagman came in to pitch for Leichman at the bottom of the fifth inning, and retired the side in order. Neither team made any headway in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Israel Erel popped up, and Glasser was hit by pitch. Up next, Gailen homered to left center to put Israel in the lead by two runs.
Benjamin Wanger came in for Wagman in the seventh, and gave up one run, but Great Britain were stopped there. In the top of the eighth, Kelly flied out to left field, and Paller reached on a fielding error by second base. Pinch hitting for Rosenberg, Zach Penprase walked while Paller stole second. Wolf struck out swinging, and with two outs, Simon Rosenbaum pinch hit for Erel, and singled through the left side, for an RBI as Paller scored and nudged Israel forward again for a 6-4 lead. Wanger then struck out Great Britain in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Gailen opened the ninth inning with his second home run of the game to right field. Valencia, Rickles and Kelly each flied out and Israel was in the lead 7-4. Zack Weiss came in to close, and efficiently ended the game with a strike out, a ground out and a pop up. The final score was 7-4, and Israel maintained its perfect record for this year’s European Championships bid and earned a place in the quarter finals at the end of the week. The top five teams in the European Championships will play in the Olympic Games Qualifiers in Italy from September 18-22.
Joey Wagman got the win, Zack Weiss got the save.
Israel plays Netherlands tomorrow in the last game of round robin play for the tournament.
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