Staff Collage SM

Team Israel has come a long way in the 2019 European Championships and is on the way to the Olympics Games Qualifiers in Italy. Behind this phenomenal team of talented and dedicated players is another, lesser known team that supports the players and plays a significant role. Meet the team behind Team Israel.  

PETER KURZ: Team Israel General Manager and President of the Israel ssociation of Baseball (IAB)

PETER KURZ: Team Israel General Manager and President of the Israel ssociation of Baseball (IAB)

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Dealing with my nerves and controlling my emotions

Best moment so far: Winning the B Pool of the European Championships in Bulgaria in July.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Freelancer in export of Israeli companies

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Winner of the A Pool of the European Championships, and 5,000 kids playing ball on 10 fields in Israel.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The best is yet to come...

ERIC HOLTZ: Head Coach

ERIC HOLTZ: Head Coach

Time with Team Israel: 2-1/2 years

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Managing the pitching/innings for all of the games played

Best moment so far: Advancing to Italy and making it to the qualifiers

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I own and operate a Baseball facility in New York where we train young athletes from ages 5 to 75 and currently play on several teams as well

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Hopefully we continue to do well and the success that we’ve had will inspire young athletes to join this team five years from now

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Every time I get to suit up in uniform representing Israel

NATE MULBERG: Assistant Coach

NATE MULBERG: Assistant Coach

Responsibilities include coaching first base, throwing batting practice in-game management, and helping to create a positive environment throughout the experience for everyone.

Time with Team Israel: This is my first tournament with Team Israel.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: At first, I thought my biggest challenge was going to be feeling comfortable with a new team and getting to know everyone, but I soon realized Team Israel is comprised of a special group of staff members, coaches and players. Everyone welcomed me and made me feel part of the Team Israel family immediately. I am so thankful for that! The biggest difficulty I have faced has been coping with the massive time difference and jet-lag.

Best moment so far: Our 4-2 win vs. Germany, especially when Ty Kelly hit his game-tying, 2-out RBI single in the 8th inning and when Jon DeMarte pitched out of a 9th-inning, 0-out, man-on-third-base jam to get our Germany game into extra innings.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel:  When I am not coaching Team Israel, I am an Assistant Baseball Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: In 5 years, I see Team Israel as a worldwide baseball power, ranked in the Top 10 worldwide.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Without question, my favorite part of the tournament day has been spending time at the hotel with all of the amazing staff members and players on Team Israel. Getting to know each player and person has been so interesting, as we have so many people involved with Team Israel from different walks of life.

RICHARD KANIA: Bench Coach

RICHARD KANIA: Bench Coach

Responsibilities include hitting fungo, doing pitching chart whatever is needed.

Time with team Israel: I´ve been with Israeli baseball since 2008. Since 2010 with the SNT. Tournaments: B pool European Championships  in 2010 (Israel) 1. WBC Qualifier in Jupiter, Florida. C Pool European Championship in Slovenia, B Pool Championships in Vienna and Beograd. B Pool Championship in Blagoevgrad, Super Finale in Utena.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Game against the Czech Team, since I was the Czech SNT coach prior to coming to Israel (2007)

Best moment so far: Winning game against Germany and France  and meeting the great players.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I teach at a high school (English and Physical Training) + coaching a youth team in Prague

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: With team like this we can be anywhere :-), but we need to use this to grow baseball in Israel and to educate players and coaches there.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Seeing the team pull together and work as one. As Eric says: No egos, just a team!

KAZUMASA (KAZ) KIBE: Bench Coach

KAZUMASA (KAZ) KIBE: Bench Coach

Responsbilities include batting pitcher, trainer, sports massage

Time with team Israel:The first time coaching the team.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Team mood.

Best moment so far: Simon Rosenbaum's home run in the fianl game of the B Pool against Russia.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: A baseball coach in Israel

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Blake Gailen batting

ANDREW LORRAINE: Pitching Coach

ANDREW LORRAINE: Pitching Coach

Time with team Israel: Since the start...2012 WBC qualifiers ..2016/17 WBC

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Crash course with so many new faces 

Best moment so far: Just being with team Israel and wearing the Star of David on the baseball field 

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Professional scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: A force in not just European baseball but a competitive team worldwide 

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The victory vs Germany in the 10th inning and the qualifying win vs France to go to Italy

ALEX JACOBS: Advance Scout/Pseudo Bench Coach

ALEX JACOBS: Advance Scout/Pseudo Bench Coach

Time with team Israel: Since 2012. I was assisting with the WBC in 2012 as well as 2017. This is my first opportunity to contribute to Israel Baseball.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: These opponents are tough! Compiling information about our opponents to put together game strategy with our staff.

Best moment so far: There never is just one moment. Just being together as a group and playing the game. Winning is always nice, but being a part of a group that has the same goals and intentions is very special.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I work as a Special Assignment Scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Team Israel will soon be competing for a spot in the Premier 12 within the next decade.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: A large majority of my day is spent in the concierge lounge watching video on our opponents and collaborating with staff on a game plan. When I can, I will explore these cities, but most of the time is preparing for our next opponent.

DAN ROOTENBERG: Team Physical Therapist  

DAN ROOTENBERG: Team Physical Therapist

Time with team Israel:  Have been with team Israel since 2012 when the first WBC team was formed.  Prior to that was first player signed in the 2007 when pro baseball was started in the Israel Baseball League 

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Keeping our talented athletes on the field and healthy so they can perform at their highest levels thus giving the team the best chance to win.   

Best moment so far: The highlight of the tournament for me by far was beating on consecutive days the German team and Great Britain which certainly would have evoked disbelief just a few years ago (as written by D. Grossman in the JPost.)   

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I am the CEO of SPEAR Physical Therapy.  We have 18 locations in New York and help over 350,000 people become better versions of themselves each year. 

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: In 5 years team Israel will have some 2nd generation players.  It will be a balanced mixed of native born Israeli athletes and Jews who have made Aliyah and will be getting ready for another Olympic qualifier  

Highlight of the tournament day for you: My favorite moment of each game is the Hatikva. It means we all put in our prep work to get to that point and it reminds me of what unites everyone on the team. It also reminds me of my father Jay who was born in Palestine in 1936. My dad was at the intersection of baseball and Israel in my life, and my contribution is in his memory.  

SYDNI HOLTZ: Team Nurse, Assistant Trainer

SYDNI HOLTZ: Team Nurse, Assistant Trainer

Time with team Israel: I have been involved with Team Israel for 3 years now. I started with the B Pool Tournament in Serbia back in 2017 and have been with them this whole summer in Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Germany.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Trying to help keep the players feeling their best. We play a bunch of games in a short time frame so it’s imperative we make sure everyone is taken care of and injury free.

Best moment so far: Winning the quarter-final game against France. Winning guaranteed us a spot in Italy next week; we are one step closer to the Olympics!

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I am a Pediatric Oncology Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. I have played and been around this sport for as long as I can remember, and I previously attended New York University where I was a pitcher for the softball team. Many of my friendships, favorite memories, and greatest life lessons have come from growing up around baseball.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: I see Team Israel continuing to grow and build. My hope is that the successes of our team will encourage the younger players in Israel to continue to work hard and improve so that they will one day be representing their country on this team.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The highlight of game days for me is watching the guys stand on the line for the playing of Hatikvah. It is awesome seeing so many guys from different backgrounds coming together for one common goal: to represent Israel.

JORDY ALTER: IAB Vice President, Team Gopher (self defined)

JORDY ALTER: IAB Vice President, Team Gopher (self defined)

Time with team Israel: Lost count

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Finding an open laudromat in the various towns and cities we play in.

Best moment so far: Beating Team Germany on their home soil.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Tooth schlepper (AKA dentist)

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Playing in Bet Shemesh on our new field

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Every moment

YARON EREL: IAB treasurer and special assistant to the general manager

YARON EREL: IAB treasurer and special assistant to the general manager

Responsibilties include booking hotels, plane tickets, making sure there’s money for all expenses

Time with team Israel: 13 years, about 20 different tournaments from u12 and up.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Making sure everyone gets where they need to be on time, safe and happy, and with their suitcases.

Best moment so far: Win against Russia in the B Pool of the European Championships in July, with a tie game, Tal (Erel) at bat, kept fouling the balls until Russia’s pitcher threw 2 wild pitches and we scored our 4th and 5th run to win the game.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Senior relationship manager at Leumi Private banking, head of Ultra High Net worth customer team.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Playing on highest level tournaments with many Israeli born players in the roster.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The win against Germany in extra inning and Tal Erel's single RBI against Great Britain with 2 strikes and 2 outs.

MARGO SUGARMAN: Team Israel Media Liaison, Team Photographer, (sometimes team mom) and Secretary General of the IAB

MARGO SUGARMAN: Team Israel Media Liaison, Team Photographer, (sometimes team mom) and Secretary General of the IAB

Time with Team Israel: My time with the senior team began at the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in 2016. I have also been manager of many national youth teams since 2011.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Editing the hundreds of photos I’ve shot during that day's game, writing a game summary, and getting all this material to our colleagues in the press before I miss the deadline in this crazy 24/7 news world. That’s in addition to posting the game results all our social media pages, trying to respond all the many comments from our fans, and uploading all the photos to our Facebook page before the players start asking for them. And repeating it all againt the next day!

Best moment so far: Watching the team win against Germany in 10th inning tie breaker at the end of the most stressful game I’ve ever seen. Also, seeing Nick Rickles, Rob Paller and Danny Valencia all hit home runs in the quarter-final win against France.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Freelance business communications consultant.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: I see the players who today are representing Israel in our Under 16 and 18 teams, and doing an amazing job, taking their places in the Senior National Team and proving what a great program we’ve built over the years to develop our local Israeli talent.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Having a laugh with the players.

 

 

 

PETER KURZ: Team Israel General Manager and President of the Israel ssociation of Baseball (IAB)

Time with Team Israel: 20 years, countless tournaments...over 15

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Dealing with my nerves and controlling my emotions

Best moment so far: Winning the B Pool of the European Championships in Bulgaria in July.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Freelancer in export of Israeli companies

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Winner of the A Pool of the European Championships, and 5,000 kids playing ball on 10 fields in Israel.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The best is yet to come...

  PeterKurz 2016

ERIC HOLTZ: Head Coach

Time with Team Israel: 2-1/2 years  

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Managing the pitching/innings for all of the games played

Best moment so far: Advancing to Italy and making it to the qualifiers 

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I own and operate a Baseball facility in New York where we train young athletes from ages 5 to 75 and currently play on several teams as well

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Hopefully we continue to do well and the success that we’ve had will inspire young athletes to join this team five years from now

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Every time I get to suit up in uniform representing Israel

  Eric

NATE MULBERG: Assistant Coach.

Responsibilities include coaching first base, throwing batting practice in-game management, and helping to create a positive environment throughout the experience for everyone.

Time with Team Israel: This is my first tournament with Team Israel.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: At first, I thought my biggest challenge was going to be feeling comfortable with a new team and getting to know everyone, but I soon realized Team Israel is comprised of a special group of staff members, coaches and players. Everyone welcomed me and made me feel part of the Team Israel family immediately. I am so thankful for that! The biggest difficulty I have faced has been coping with the massive time difference and jet-lag.

Best moment so far: Our 4-2 win vs. Germany, especially when Ty Kelly hit his game-tying, 2-out RBI single in the 8th inning and when Jon DeMarte pitched out of a 9th-inning, 0-out, man-on-third-base jam to get our Germany game into extra innings.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel:  When I am not coaching Team Israel, I am an Assistant Baseball Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: In 5 years, I see Team Israel as a worldwide baseball power, ranked in the Top 10 worldwide.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Without question, my favorite part of the tournament day has been spending time at the hotel with all of the amazing staff members and players on Team Israel. Getting to know each player and person has been so interesting, as we have so many people involved with Team Israel from different walks of life.

  Nate

RICHARD KANIA: Bench Coach

Responsibilities include hitting fungo, doing pitching chart whatever is needed.

Time with team Israel: I´ve been with Israeli baseball since 2008. Since 2010 with the SNT. Tournaments: B pool European Championships  in 2010 (Israel) 1. WBC Qualifier in Jupiter, Florida. C Pool European Championship in Slovenia, B Pool Championships in Vienna and Beograd. B Pool Championship in Blagoevgrad, Super Finale in Utena.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Game against the Czech Team, since I was the Czech SNT coach prior to coming to Israel (2007)

Best moment so far: Winning game against Germany and France  and meeting the great players.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I teach at a high school (English and Physical Training) + coaching a youth team in Prague

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: With team like this we can be anywhere :-), but we need to use this to grow baseball in Israel and to educate players and coaches there.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Seeing the team pull together and work as one. As Eric says: No egos, just a team!

  Richard

KAZUMASA (KAZ) KIBE: Bench Coach

Responsbilities include batting pitcher, trainer, sports massage

Time with team Israel:The first time coaching the team.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Team mood.

Best moment so far: Simon Rosenbaum's home run in the fianl game of the B Pool against Russia.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: A baseball coach in Israel

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Blake Gailen batting

  Kaz
 ANDREW LORRAINE: Pitching Coach

Time with team Israel: Since the start ...2012 WBC qualifiers ..2016/17 WBC

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Crash course with so many new faces 

Best moment so far: Just being with team Israel and wearing the Star of David on the baseball field 

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Professional scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: A force in not just European baseball but a competitive team worldwide 

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The victory vs Germany in the 10th inning and the qualifying win vs France to go to Italy

  Andrew
ALEX JACOBS: Advance Scout/Pseudo Bench Coach

Time with team Israel: Since 2012. I was assisting with the WBC in 2012 as well as 2017. This is my first opportunity to contribute to Israel Baseball.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: These opponents are tough! Compiling information about our opponents to put together game strategy with our staff.

Best moment so far: There never is just one moment. Just being together as a group and playing the game. Winning is always nice, but being a part of a group that has the same goals and intentions is very special.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I work as a Special Assignment Scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Team Israel will soon be competing for a spot in the Premier 12 within the next decade.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: A large majority of my day is spent in the concierge lounge watching video on our opponents and collaborating with staff on a game plan. When I can, I will explore these cities, but most of the time is preparing for our next opponent.

  Alex
DAN ROOTENBERG: Team Physical Therapist  

Time with team Israel:  Have been with team Israel since 2012 when the first WBC team was formed.  Prior to that was first player signed in the 2007 when pro baseball was started in the Israel Baseball League 

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Keeping our talented athletes on the field and healthy so they can perform at their highest levels thus giving the team the best chance to win.   

Best moment so far: The highlight of the tournament for me by far was beating on consecutive days the German team and Great Britain which certainly would have evoked disbelief just a few years ago (as written by D. Grossman in the JPost.)   

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I am the CEO of SPEAR Physical Therapy.  We have 18 locations in New York and help over 350,000 people become better versions of themselves each year. 

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: In 5 years team Israel will have some 2nd generation players.  It will be a balanced mixed of native born Israeli athletes and Jews who have made Aliyah and will be getting ready for another Olympic qualifier  

Highlight of the tournament day for you: My favorite moment of each game is the Hatikva. It means we all put in our prep work to get to that point and it reminds me of what unites everyone on the team. It also reminds me of my father Jay who was born in Palestine in 1936. My dad was at the intersection of baseball and Israel in my life, and my contribution is in his memory.  

  Dan

SYDNI HOLTZ: Team Nurse, Assistant Trainer.

Time with team Israel: I have been involved with Team Israel for 3 years now. I started with the B Pool Tournament in Serbia back in 2017 and have been with them this whole summer in Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Germany.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Trying to help keep the players feeling their best. We play a bunch of games in a short time frame so it’s imperative we make sure everyone is taken care of and injury free.

Best moment so far: Winning the quarter-final game against France. Winning guaranteed us a spot in Italy next week; we are one step closer to the Olympics!

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: I am a Pediatric Oncology Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. I have played and been around this sport for as long as I can remember, and I previously attended New York University where I was a pitcher for the softball team. Many of my friendships, favorite memories, and greatest life lessons have come from growing up around baseball.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: I see Team Israel continuing to grow and build. My hope is that the successes of our team will encourage the younger players in Israel to continue to work hard and improve so that they will one day be representing their country on this team.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The highlight of game days for me is watching the guys stand on the line for the playing of Hatikvah. It is awesome seeing so many guys from different backgrounds coming together for one common goal: to represent Israel.

  Sydni

JORDY ALTER: IAB Vice President, Team Gopher (self defined)

Time with team Israel: Lost count

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Finding an open laudromat in the various towns and cities we play in.

Best moment so far: Beating Team Germany on their home soil.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Tooth schlepper (AKA dentist)

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Playing in Bet Shemesh on our new field

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Every moment

Jordy

YARON EREL: IAB treasurer and special assistant to the general manager.

Responsibilties include booking hotels, plane tickets, making sure there’s money for all expenses

Time with team Israel: 13 years, about 20 different tournaments from u12 and up.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Making sure everyone gets where they need to be on time, safe and happy, and with their suitcases.

Best moment so far: Win against Russia in the B Pool of the European Championships in July, with a tie game, Tal (Erel) at bat, kept fouling the balls until Russia’s pitcher threw 2 wild pitches and we scored our 4th and 5th run to win the game.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Senior relationship manager at Leumi Private banking, head of Ultra High Net worth customer team.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: Playing on highest level tournaments with many Israeli born players in the roster.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: The win against Germany in extra inning and Tal Erel's single RBI against Great Britain with 2 strikes and 2 outs.

Yaron
MARGO SUGARMAN: Team Israel Media Liaison, Team Photographer, (sometimes team mom) and Secretary General of the IAB

Time with Team Israel: My time with the senior team began at the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in 2016. I have also been manager of many national youth teams since 2011.

Biggest challenge during the tournament: Editing the hundreds of photos I’ve shot during that day's game, writing a game summary, and getting all this material to our colleagues in the press before I miss the deadline in this crazy 24/7 news world. That’s in addition to posting the game results all our social media pages, trying to respond all the many comments from our fans, and uploading all the photos to our Facebook page before the players start asking for them. And repeating it all againt the next day!

Best moment so far: Watching the team win against Germany in 10th inning tie breaker at the end of the most stressful game I’ve ever seen. Also, seeing Nick Rickles, Rob Paller and Danny Valencia all hit home runs in the quarter-final win against France.

Your baseball life outside of Team Israel: Freelance business communications consultant.

Where you see Team Israel in 5 years: I see the players who today are representing Israel in our Under 16 and 18 teams, and doing an amazing job, taking their places in the Senior National Team and proving what a great program we’ve built over the years to develop our local Israeli talent.

Highlight of the tournament day for you: Having a laugh with the players.

Margo
Simon Q Finals

Team Israel handily beat France 8-2 in the quarter finals of the European Baseball Championships in Bonn, Germany today, moving up to the semi-finals tomorrow, and securing a place in the Olympic Games qualifiers to take place next week in Italy. The five teams that finish top in the European Championships plus the already-qualified South Africa, play in the Europe/Africa Olympic taking in place in Parma and Bologna in Italy from September 18-22.

With Joey Wagman on the mound, Israel came out of the block fired up. After the lead-off batter for France grounded out, Maxime Lefevre doubled to right field and Andy Paz walked. But an infield fly double play ended the top of the first. (1-0 B). At the bottom of the inning, Ty Kelly walked, and Blake Gailen doubled through the right side for the RBI with Kelly scoring. Up next, Danny Valencia homered to center field for a two run RBI, putting Israel into an early 3-0 lead.

With France unable to score, Israel surged forward again in the third inning, and added two runs to the tally thanks to a 2RBI homer to left field by catcher Nick Rickles, to extend the lead to 5-0. Israel continued to dominate starting the fourth inning with a homer to right field from Rob Paller. Zach Penprase singled to right center, and advanced to second on an error, Jeremy Wolf singled to center field and Penprase advanced to third. After a change of pitcher, Kelly grounded into double play with Wolf out on the play, and Penprase scored for a 7-0 lead.

David Sharabi came in for Wagman in the fifth, and retired the side in order. In the sixth inning, France made it onto the score board with two unearned runs, Israel was unable to add any runs in the sixth, ending the inning 7-2. Zack Weiss, in for Sharabi in the seventh inning, retired the side in order. Four walks helped Israel to add another run to its score for 8-2. In the eighth inning, Weiss once again struck out the side in order. Wolf started the bottom of the eighth with a double to left field, but Israel wasn’t able to capitalize with two strikeouts and a pop up ending the inning.  

Ahead 8-2, Jonathan DeMarte came in to close, and with a fly out and two strike outs, ensured Israel’s path to the semi-finals of the European Championships and a spot in the Olympic Games qualifiers.

Sharabi got the win. Israel plays Italy in the semi-finals at 19:00 (Germany) on September 14.

This is the first time that a team from Israel has reached the European Baseball Championships, after working its way up through the lower pools over the past few years. “The hard work has already started paying off,” says Team General Manager and Israel Association of Baseball President Peter Kurz. “For months it’s been a dream for us to reach the Olympic Games qualifiers alongside the very top teams in Europe, and today, this dream came true. It’s very exciting to achieve two remarkable milestones in one tournament – reach the Olympics qualifiers and get further in the European Championships than any Israeli baseball team has ever before. We still have more games to win, but our players are motivated to go all the way to Tokyo 2020.”

Game 5

Team Israel will play Team France in the quarter finals of the European Baseball Championships in Germany on Friday.

Israel finished second in Pool A after losing their final round robin game today to the current European Champions Netherlands 13-4. With Shlomo Lipetz on the mound, Israel started strong with a two-run home run from Danny Valencia in the first inning. Netherlands evened up the game in the next inning, and followed with a strong batting performance. Israel was able to add two runs in the sixth inning but weren’t able to hold off the Dutch who had four home runs today.

Israel came into the final round robin game leading their pool with four wins, having beaten Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Great Britain. Netherlands had three wins, and one loss to the Czechs. With both teams at 4-1, the tie breaker was the head to head. This send Israel to the playoffs in second position. They face France, who finished the B Pool with three wins and two losses.

“We looked very strong throughout the week,” says General Manager and IAB President Peter Kurz. “We are now focused on our next goal, which is to make it into the top five teams in the tournament.” A top five tournament finish will automatically send Team Israel to the Olympic Games Qualifiers taking place in Parma, Italy next week.

“We faced some extremely strong teams this week,” notes Kurz. “The fact that we were able to beat these tough competitors is a great credit to all the players and the staff. We are ready for the next phase and look forward to representing Israel in general and Israel Baseball in particular with pride.”

Game 4 GreatBritain

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.

All game are streamed live - https://www.baseballsoftball.tv/livestream/

DeMarte Game3

In a nail biting tenth inning tie break, Team Israel pulled a series of outstanding defensive plays out of the bag to beat Germany 4-2 in the third game of the European Baseball Championships in Bonn, Germany. Both teams were vying to go 3-0. Israel came out on top and is 3-0 having also beaten Czech Republic and Sweden. Germany, nows 2-1, is considered one of the stronger teams in the tournament. 

Israel started strong with a double up the center from Mitch Glasser, and an RBI double by Nick Rickles for a 1-0 start in the first inning. On the mound, Gabe Cramer held the Germans at bay two innings. But in the third inning, the hosts came out ready to rally, their first at bat of the inning produced a double through the left side by Kevin Kotowski, and an RBI single from Simon Guehring had Germany tying up the game. DJ Sharabi came in for Cramer, Germany scored one more run when Pascal Amon singled to second base for the RBI, edging Germany ahead.

Israel struggled to break through offensively , but strong pitching from Sharabi, Zack Weiss, and Jonathan DeMarte held Germany at two runs. In the top of the eighth inning, Glasser walked and Blake Gailen singled through the right side, advancing Glasser. Danny Valencia flied out to left field, and Rickles struck out swinging. With two outs, Ty Kelly got the blue and white crowd on its feet when he singled to left field, and Glasser scored to tie the game up. Germany had no answer in the bottom of the eighth and the game remained tied.

Israel couldn’t add to its score line in the top of the ninth. Germany’s Marco Cardoso tripled to right field at the start of the bottom of the inning, but DeMarte made quick work of the next three batters, and left Cardoso on base to end the ninth inning in a tie.

European Championship rules require a 10th inning tie breaker situation, where two runners are placed on first and second base at the start of the half inning. The players placed on base will be the players preceding the lead-off batter in the lineup, with the player immediately preceding the lead-off batter placed on first base and the player two places before the lead-off batter placed on second base. There are no outs, and the inning continues as usual.

With Glasser placed on second and Gailen placed on first, Valencia was hit by a pitch to load the bases loaded. Rickles singled to center field, Glasser scored, Bailen was out at home and Valencia advanced to second. Kelly, up next, was hit by pitch, Rickles and Valencia advanced. Benjamin Wanger flied out to left field, for the RBI, and a two run lead. Rob Paller flied out to right field to end the tie break inning.

Dean Pelman came in for DeMarte for the bottom of the inning. Kotowski was placed on second and Sascha Lutz on first. Guehring singled to left field with a perilously deep fly ball to left field; Lutz advanced to second and Kotowski to third, but was put out at home with a throw from Pallerin left field, to short stop Kelly to catcher Rickles, for the most dramatic out of the game. Donald Lutz grounded into double play second base, short stop and first, putting Guehring out on the play, and cementing Israel’s third victory in the tournament.

DeMarte got the win, and Pelman got the save.

Israel is now 3-0, and faces Great Britain in the next game on September 10. Israel’s last round robin game will be against Netherlands on September 11. The top five teams out of both groups at the tournament will move on to the Olympic Games qualifiers in Italy.

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