For the first time, Israel Baseball sent an Under 18 National Team to the European Championships qualifiers in Stockholm, Sweden, and the result was a big win. The victory came only days after the Senior National Team won their pool of the B Pool of the European Championships in Bulgaria.
Israel started the mid-July tournament strong, winning its first two games against Sweden and Switzerland 7-4 and 8-2 respectively. After a solid start against Great Britain on Israel’s third day of competition, where the team scored four runs to Britain’s one in the first inning, the tide turned, and the Brits edged ahead, narrowly defeating Israel by one run for a 7-6 win. The following day, in a high scoring game, Israel once again had victory against Belgium snatched from them after going into the bottom of the last inning four runs up. With a 14-13 win Belgium headed straight for the finals, and with a record of 2 wins and 2 losses, Israel had to wait for the results of the last round robin game to find out if they were to make it to the final game. A 6-2 win for Sweden against Great Britain meant that the three countries were tied at 2-2. Thanks to the strongest run differential of the three, Israel was headed for the finals the next day against Belgium.
With strong defense and some top quality hitting, Team Israel won the all-important championship game 8-5. Israel pulled ahead by three runs in the penultimate inning. The blue and white allowed no runs from the Belgians in the last two innings, in spite of the rain that began falling as Benny Feins come up on the mound to pitch in the bottom of the last inning. A strike out and two ground outs earned Team Israel the victory and a place in next year’s European Championships.
The tournament best hitter award went to Daniel Laderman, who had a highly impressive .600 batting average, and tournament MVP was Zev Moore. Laderman and Moore tied as the tournament’s top hitters, with nine hits each. Gal Partouche led the tournament in RBIs with nine runs batted in. Moore was the only player in the tournament with two triples, and Ealley Chorev tied for most doubles with three big hits. Ivri Margolin had Israel’s top pitching stat with an ERA of 2.69.