Barnstormers

Israel's national baseball team will visit Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as part of its pre-Olympic training camp this summer. The Lancaster Barnstormers will host Team Israel for a game against the Susquehanna Valley Stars at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Saturday, July 17. First pitch is scheduled for noon. Tickets will go on sale to the public at lancasterbarnstormers.com on Monday, May 17 at 1000 am ET.

The Susquehanna League is an established twilight league, dating back to 1935. It is comprised of eight teams in York County (Conrads, East Prospect, Felton, Hallam, Jacobus, Stewartstown, Windsor, and York Township) who compete in a 34-game schedule. The Susquehanna Valley Stars will also feature collegiate players from the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference.

The game is one of nine that Team Israel will play in the United States during its training camp. Games against the New York Boulders in Pomona, New York, on Monday, July 12 and against the Bristol Blues and Ocean State Waves in Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday-Thursday, July 14-15, have already been announced. More games will be revealed in the coming days.

“I am very excited to come back to Lancaster, which is a great baseball town. I have such fond memories of my time working in the Barnstormers front office during our 2006 title run,” Adam Gladstone, Team Israel's Assistant GM and Director of Baseball Operations. “We are grateful to the Barnstormers management team for helping to make this possible. A special thanks goes to my old friend Jeff Barkdoll, who was part of our coaching staff at the York Revolution, for putting together and managing the Susquehanna Valley Stars. I am sure it will be a memorable afternoon for all the fans who come out.”

“We are excited to host Team Israel at Clipper Magazine Stadium as they prepare for the 2021 Olympics,” Barnstormers GM Michael Reynolds said. “We feel this is a great opportunity and experience for all of the Central Pennsylvania community. Especially for our Barnstormers fans who will have the opportunity to see Blake Gailen and Jared Lakind before they head to Japan with their Team Israel teammates.”

The game will be a homecoming of sorts for the aforementioned Team Israel players who also play for the Barnstormers in the Atlantic League. Gailen is a club legend and the Barnstormers' all-time home run leader and this season will be Lakind's third in a Lancaster uniform.

“Lancaster has been my summer home for about half my career,” Gailen said. “The fans and the city are always so supportive of whatever route I take and they are always a part of my journey. It will be a cool experience playing in front of those loyal fans wearing Israel across my chest, as they were there when my Team Israel journey began. It’s almost a sort of homage to be able to suit up for Israel at Clipper Magazine Stadium as kind of a hat tip to the fans and the city.”

Team Israel will have as many as 28 players in total plus some of the top local talents of the next generation on its training camp roster. The team is ripe with players known to baseball fans in the United States; there are seven players with previous Major League Baseball experience plus several current minor league players.

Team Israel will compete in baseball at the Olympic Games for the first time. It is the first team to represent Israel at the Olympic Games since 1976 when Israel's national soccer team played in Montreal. The six-team Olympic Baseball Tournament will run from July 28 through August 7.

Coaches 2021

The largest group of participants ever to graduate from an Israel Association of Baseball coaches course have received their certification. Nineteen candidates, aged 16 and up, successfully completed the course which was run in collaboration with the Israel College of Sports, headed by Dr. Eli Sadres. The Israel Sports Authority is the certifying body. 

The 19 newly minted certified coaches are: Leeor Kronik, Harel Kronik, Yaara Kronik, Uri Shani, Amitai Eli and Itai Goldner from Tel Aviv; Shaked Baruch and Ido Peled from Tel Mond; Judah Rosenthal from Bat Hefer; Oren Bobrov, David Kayman and Ivri Margolin from Misgav; Eagle Solomon from Ginegar; Zev Moore from Jerusalem; Danielle Salber, Gabriel Salber and David Edery from Modiin; Avinoam Sachs from Hashmonaim and Aryeh Klein from Bet Shemesh. 

The participants had to complete an intensive few months of scientific studies (psychology, physiology, anatomy, coaching theory and sports injuries), on-field work, baseball coaching training, as well as a 28-hour first aid certification course. The course was run by senior coach Ophir Katz, who was responsible for training the students in baseball theory and on-field instruction. 

The course began in September 2020 and much of it took place during the COVID-19 lockdown. As a result, all the theoretical sessions were conducted via Zoom. The upside of this format was that several lectures were given by members of Team Israel's Olympic squad, which added tremendous value. The Olympians who shared their expertise with the students were Ian Kinsler, Ryan Lavarnway, Josh Zeid, Blake Gailen, Simon Rosenbaum, Shlomo Lipetz, Mitch Glasser, Zach Penprase and Assaf Lowengart. In addition, Team Israel coach Eric Holtz lectured, as well as IAB Head Umpire Leon Klarfeld and former IAB President Haim Katz. 

"We have run a few coaches courses in the past, but never with this many participants," noted Ophir Katz. "These coaches now have a deep knowledge of what it takes to be a professional coach and are well-positioned to significantly elevate the level of all their players. They also have the accreditation that allows them to coach in schools and community centers."

"The course was challenging, and we all had to put in a lot of hours," said Harel Kronik, 18, who participated in the course along with his sister, Ya’ara, 16, and his father Leeor. "But now I have far more tools and knowledge to be a better coach on a much higher level than before."

Jordy Alter, IAB President, added: "As part of the IAB’s goal to increase the professional level of our coaching, and consequently our baseball standards, we made a major effort to increase participation in this course. The course was a great success, and we hope to see many more participants in the courses that we will run every year from now on."

The next course is scheduled to begin in the fall and will be open to players over the age of 16 who have at least three years of competitive baseball experience. For registration or more information please contact Margo Sugarman ().

Yardgoats

Israel's national baseball team will visit Dunkin Donuts Park during its pre-Olympic camp

TEL AVIV – Israel's national baseball team will play two games at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut, this summer as part of its pre-Olympic training camp. Team Israel will face the Bristol Blues on Wednesday, July 14, and the Ocean State Waves on Thursday, July 15. Both games will be early starts with the first pitch set for 10:30 a.m. The Blues and Waves are members of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Josh Solomon, the owner of the Hartford Yard Goats, who call Dunkin Donuts Park home, has partnered with Team Israel to help make these games happen. The Yard Goats are the AA-affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

"We're delighted to be able to spend some time in Hartford during our Olympic preparations," Team Israel GM Peter Kurz said. "I want to thank Josh Solomon for helping make this happen. Josh has been a true friend of Israel Baseball and has donated generously to our cause. I know he was planning to be in Tokyo to cheer us on in person and since that can't happen, playing two games on his turf is the next best thing."

The games in Hartford will be a homecoming of sorts for several Team Israel players, including infielder Scott Burcham, who played for the Yard Goats during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

 "I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to play in Hartford in the minor leagues," Burcham said of his time with the Yard Goats. "Dunkin Donuts Park is one of the nicest facilities in the country, from the playing surface to the locker rooms. Not to mention the fans bring the electricity every single night."

There have also been several Team Israel players who competed in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Josh Zeid played for the Torrington Twisters in 2006, Ryan Lavarnway for the Manchester Silkworms in 2007, Alex Katz for the Danbury Westerners in 2014, Jeremy Wolf for the Newport Gulls and Simon Rosenbaum for the Vermont Mountaineers in 2015, and Ben Wanger for the Valley Blue Sox in 2018.

Team Israel will have as many as 28 players in total plus some of the top local talents of the next generation to expose them to a training camp atmosphere. The roster is ripe with players known to baseball fans in the United States; there are seven players with previous Major League Baseball experience plus several current minor league players.

Team Israel will compete in baseball at the Olympic Games for the first time. It is the first team to represent Israel at the Olympic Games since 1976 when Israel's national soccer team played in Montreal. The six-team Olympic Baseball Tournament will run from July 28 through August 7.

LAVARNWAY Shirsey 12

TeamIsraelBaseball.com, the official online shop of Israel Baseball, is releasing a new line of individual player and coach t-shirts and hoodies! The launch of the "shirseys" and hoodies was designed to commemorate Israel's 73rd Independence Day.

"We are thrilled that Israel will be one of six countries competing for the gold medal in the upcoming Olympics," said Peter Kurz, General Manager of Team Israel. “Now we are excited that fans, old and new, can proudly display their support by wearing this awesome new gear."

The new short-sleeve t-shirts and Nike pullover hoodies are available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes in the colors of Israel’s flag - blue and white. This official product line features Israel Baseball’s extended Olympics team roster, including eight players with Major League Baseball experience, as well as select members of the Olympic coaching staff.

"My teammates, coaches, and I are pumped that Israel Baseball fans around the world will now be able to show their support by proudly representing their favorite player or coach. The support means a lot to us, and we're looking forward to seeing lots of awesome photos from the fans," added former Major Leaguer and Team Israel pitcher Jon Moscot.

A large portion of sale proceeds will help fund Israel Baseball’s journey to the Olympics and help build and renovate baseball fields in Israel. So this is your chance to look great and support a great cause!

HereWeCome

TEL AVIV – Team Israel General Manager Peter Kurz has submitted an expanded roster of 44 players to the World Baseball Softball Confederation from which the 24-man traveling roster for the Olympic Games will be selected. The WBSC is baseball's global governing body and the organizer of the baseball competition at the Olympic Games.  

Israel's roster includes all 24 players from the team that clinched Israel’s Olympic berth by winning the WBSC Baseball Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier in September 2019 in Italy. There are 12 players who return from Israel's entry at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which reached the quarterfinals. The next generation of Israeli baseball players is also represented with six players who helped Israel finish in first place at the European Championship U18 Qualifier in 2019 in Sweden.

Alongside nine players who have played in the Major Leagues are four players who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces under the distinguished athlete designation and three more who will be drafted in the same class in the coming year.

Team Israel will have its first training camp in May in Arizona and will then meet again in early July in New York, where it will play a series of exhibition games before flying to Tokyo for the Olympics.

Team Israel's expanded roster for the 2021 Olympic Games:  

Pitchers (21): Jeremy Bleich (Major League Analyst, Pittsburgh Pirates) , Eric Brodkowitz (Idaho Falls Chukars), Gabe Cramer (free agent), Jonathan deMarte (free agent), Jake Fishman (Miami Marlins),  Alex Katz (free agent), Dean Kremer (Baltimore Orioles), Jared Lakind (Lancaster Barnstormers), Alon Leichman (coach, Seattle Mariners), Shlomo Lipetz (free agent), Shlomo Lipman (Jerusalem Lions), Ivri Margolin (Team Misgav), Jon Moscot (free agent), Ido Peled (Ra'anana Raiders), Dean Pelman (free agent), David Sharabi (Sioux Falls Canaries), Matt Soren (free agent), Joey Wagman (Temp Praha), Ben Wanger (University of Miami), Zack Weiss (Kansas City Monarchs), Josh Zeid (coach, Chicago Cubs).

Catchers (3): Tal Erel (Lynn University), Ryan Lavarnway (Cleveland Indians), Nick Rickles (free agent).

Infielders (12): Shaked Baruch (Ra'anana Raiders), Scott Burcham (Colorado Rockies), Mitch Glasser (free agent), Itai Goldner (Tel Aviv Comrades), Kai Friesem (Ra'anana Raiders), Ty Kelly (Long Island Ducks), Ian Kinsler (free agent), Assaf Lowengart (Mansfield University), Zev Moore (Jerusalem Lions), Zach Penprase (New York Boulders), Simon Rosenbaum (coach, Tampa Bay Rays), Danny Valencia (free agent).

Outfielders (8): Natan Bash (Ra'anana Raiders), Noam Calisar (Ryukyu Blue Ocean), Blake Gailen (Lancaster Barnstormers), David Ibn Ezra (Bay College), Robb Paller (Lake Erie Crushers), Jake Rosenberg (Narbeth), Uri Shani (Tel Aviv Comrades), Jeremy Wolf (Lake Erie Crushers).   

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