PeterKurz 2016

The Israel Association Baseball (IAB) has announced that effective immediately, Peter Kurz will step down from his role as President of the Board of Directors of the IAB in order to focus fully on his role as General Manager of Team Israel ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Jordy Alter, who is Vice President of the IAB replaces Kurz until the next elections for office holders is held in 2021.

Kurz elected to step down because of the intense demands facing him as Team Israel General Manager in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Team Israel secured a place in the 2020 Olympic Games when the team won the Europe/Africa Qualifier in Italy in September.

“Peter dedicated himself to making the vision of sending a baseball team from Israel to the Olympic Games in 2020 a reality, and achieved what most would not believe possible,” says Alter, the incoming IAB President. “The task of Team Israel General Manager in the coming months will be immense and we respect the decision that Peter has made to place his full focus on this crucial role, and hopefully bring home the gold. His contributions to Israel Baseball over the past years have been innumerable, and he will continue to play a major role in his new position.”

“It has been my honor to have served over the past six years as President of the IAB,” says Kurz. “As president, I was able to expand Israel Baseball into the global arena, reaching number six in the world at the World Baseball Classic in 2017 and now, earning a place at the 2020 Olympic Games, which have been great accomplishments. I now look forward to fully investing my time and energy in ensuring that Israel is represented at the Tokyo Olympics by the best and most well-prepared baseball team possible.”Jordy Alter 2

Baseball Plus E

Introducing Baseball Plus for Juveniles and Cadets, starting  Wednesday, November 6 at the Baptist Village from 18:00-20:00.

Baseball Plus offers registered members of the IAB an additional practice a week with the top coaches in Israel, an excellent way for them to raise their level of play.

All levels welcome.

The program will run through February 2020.

Cost: 750 shekels 

Registration and payment on our website under "Baseball Plus"

Don’t miss out on this great new program launched for the Israel Baseball Olympic year

Please Note: Baseball Plus is NOT part of the national team program.

FInal Game Group

For the first time since 1974, Israel will be sending a team sport to the Olympic Games – this time it’s baseball. Twenty four Israeli baseball players will march in the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year, representing a sport that is slowly emerging in Israel but will be boosted by the tremendous achievement of its senior national team. The Israel Baseball team will be the first team sport to represent Israel at the Olympic games since 1976, when the Israel National Soccer team competed in the Montreal Summer Olympics. Israel will be one of six teams to play in the baseball competition at the Olympics.

The team won its final and deciding game of the Olympic qualifiers, beating South Africa, the African representative in the Europe/Africa qualifiers for the Olympic Games, 11-1 in eight innings. Israel had reached the qualifiers by coming fourth at the European Championships held in Germany the previous week. The top five teams went through to the qualifiers, held in Parma and Bologna, Italy. Israel started the qualifiers by beating three of the teams it lost to in Germany – Spain, Italy, and European champions Netherlands. It hit a small bump in the road when in its penultimate game, Israel lost to Czech Republic 7-4. But with a tournament leading record of 3-1, the win against South Africa assured Israel of the place in the Olympics.Final Game Jump

Israel put on a stellar performance. On the mound, Joey Wagman held the South Africans to six scoreless innings, allowing one run in the seventh. It was Wagman’s only run allowed in both the Qualifiers and European Championships the week before, where he was named pitcher with the lowest ERA of 0 over 10.2 innings.

Israel came alive in the top of the second inning when catcher Nick Rickles scored on a sacrifice fly by OF Simon Rosenbaum. With short stop Ty Kelly on third, DH Benjamin Wanger on second and third baseman Zach Penprase on first after being hit by a pitch, second baseman Mitch Glasser walked for another RBI. A single from OF Blake Gailen allowed Wanger and Penprase to score. Israel was up 4-0.

In the top of the third, a double from Wanger brought Rickles home, and a sacrifice fly from Rosenbaum added another run by Kelly for a 6-0 lead.

Israel’s defense was virtually impenetrable, and South Africa only managed to score one run in the bottom of the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, Israel piled on four more runs, three from a homer by Dany Valencia. Shlomo Lipetz came in to close the game, and with no runs scoring, the game ended, giving Israel the golden ticket to Tokyo 2020.

“This is the ultimate dream come true,” said Peter Kurz, Israel Association of Baseball President and General Manager of Team Israel. “It was almost too impossible to imagine but with the astounding performances of a dedicated team that always believed in itself. Even when we were beaten last night by Czech Republic, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits because we knew we were capable of achieving this goal.”

Italy Win

Israel emerged as the dominant team in the Olympic Games qualifiers in Italy, when it dominated the hosts in an 8-2 game, to go 3-0, ahead of the rest of the other five teams.

Until the seventh inning, it was anyone’s game. For the first three innings it was a pitchers’ duel between Israel’s Gabe Cramer and Italy’s Luis Lugo, with neither side managing to score. In the top of the fourth inning, DH Danny Valencia walked, and catcher Nick Rickles homered to deep left field, putting two runs on the board. In the bottom of the fifth, with Zack Weiss on the mound for Israel, the Italians got two walks, and a double from Chris Colabello brought in Sebastiano Poma and Andrew Maggi to tie the game.

The score remined tied until the top of the eighth inning, when Israel broke out and scored six runs. First baseman Benjamin Wanger was hit by a pitch, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Simon Rosenbaum. Third baseman Zach Penprase walked, and Wanger reached third on a wild pitch. Mitch Glasser bunted and reached on an error and Wanger scored. With two outs, Valencia reached on an error, loading the bases. Rickles singled to the left side and Glasser and Wanger scored. OF Rob Paller was hit by a pitch and the bases were again loaded with Valencia on third and Rickles on second. Short stop Ty Kelly singled to right field and Valencia scored. Wanger singled to the left for 2 RBIs, as Rickles and Paller scored. The inning ended with Israel quickly in a comfortable lead.Rickles Valencia

Jonathan DeMarte on the mound for Israel retired the Italians in order in the bottom of the eight, and repeated the feat in the bottom of the ninth for the win.

Israel faces Czech Republic next and South Africa on Sunday. A fourth win would virtually ensure Israel a historic place in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Only the top team moves into the Olympics line up automatically. The second place team will play in a lucky losers’ tournament in March 2020.

“We’ve done great things over the past three days, and the win against the strong Italian team was the icing on the cake so far,” says Team Israel General Manager and Israel Association of Baseball President Peter Kurz. “We beat the three teams that beat us in last week’s European Championships. But we still have work to do and nothing is certain in baseball. So, we’re still taking it one game at a time and focusing our energies on keeping ahead of our competitors.”

Netherlands Win

Team Israel caused a major upset on the second day of the Olympic Games Qualifiers at the Nino Cavalli Stadium in Parma, Italy on September 19, by beating Netherlands 8-1. The Dutch had only days earlier won the European Championships, where Israel took fourth place, and lost to them in the round robin phase of the tournament in Germany. After a decisive 8-1 win against the favorites, Israel went 2-0 in the qualifiers.

The Dutch’s only run came in the top of the second inning as a result of two doubles, against Israeli pitcher Jon Moscot. He pitched four innings and only gave up the one run. He was relieved by Jeremy Bleich who got the win, pitching two innings and allowing no hits.

Israel’s bats came alive early in the game, when DH Danny Valencia walked, and with two outs and two strikes against him, catcher Nick Rickles homered to deep left field for 2 RBIs.

Israel continued its domination with a memorable second inning. With OF Rob Paller and first baseman Benjamin Wanger both drawing walks, OF Simon Rosenbaum’s sacrifice bunt moved them up and a single from third baseman Zach Penprase loaded the bases. Second baseman Mitch Glasser capitalized with a 3 RBI double. OF Blake Gailen walked, and Valencia doubled to left center. Glasser scored and Gailen was out at home. Israel added four runs in that decisive inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Gailen reached on an error, and Valencia singled to center field, Gailen to second. Rickles added another single, and loaded the bases. A single to center field from Paller added one more run to Israel’s score line to put the team ahead 7-1. Paller started the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to right center. Wanger flied out to center, and Paller advanced. A sac-fly to right field from Penprase brought Paller home for Israel’s last run of the night.

The win against Netherlands casts a spotlight on Israel as the team to beat. “Just like we were considered underdogs in the World Baseball Classic two years ago,” notes Peter Kurz, General Manager and Israel Association of Baseball President, “we came into this tournament after having had to qualify for the European Championships, and placing fourth there, so expectations weren’t high. After two impressive wins, we now have to continue the momentum in the next three games against another three tough competitors – Italy, Czech Republic and South Africa. Every team that made it to the qualifiers is a challenge, but I am confident that we have to tenacity and talent to come through and make it all the way to Tokyo.”

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