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.

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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.

End Game 2

Team Israel overcame consistently rainy weather, 13 runners left on base and a determined Swedish team to win their second game 4-3 at the European Championships at the Weyersberg Baseball Park in Solingen, Germany on September 8, with a walk-off. The win went to Jon Moscot.  

Israel was first out of gate to score in the second inning. Rob Paller doubled to right center, Zach Penprase reached on a throwing error by third base, and Paller advanced to third. Jeremy Wolf singled to center field and Paller scored.

In the fourth inning, Sweden drove two runs in, off starter Eric Brodkowitz, the first a homerun from Nicolas Filice with one out, the second from a balk with bases loaded. Mitch Glasser opened the fourth inning with a walk, and then advanced to second when Ty Kelly grounded out to the pitcher. A single from Blake Gailen down the right field line brought Glasser home to even the score.

Benajmin Wanger, who was back from injury and was unavailable for the earlier European Championship tournaments came in for Brodkowitz in the fifth inning. He retired the side in order and repeated the feat in the sixth.

The seventh inning saw Sweden edge in front with Daniel Johnson reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Ty Kelly. Pontus Bystroem doubled down the right field to advance Johnson to third. After a strike out, and an intentional walk, Peter Johannessen flied out to right field, and Johnson scored an unearned run.

Jon Moscot, who had also just returned from injury and surgery and has been waiting to join Team Israel since before the 2017 World Baseball Classic, came in for Wanger, and proceeded to retire the side in order as well. Israel was unable to make any headway in the eighth inning, and as the rain intensified, the stage was set for a dramatic final inning, with Sweden, the visiting team, ahead 3-2. Following a walk by Johnson, a Bystroem grounded out to advance Johnson to second. A second ground out moved Johnson to third. Following the intentional walk of Alex Rubanowitz, Moscot struck out Johannessen swinging, leaving two Swedish runners on base.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with Sweden's formidable Jacon Syren in for Niklas Melin, Nick Rickles singled up the middle and Assaf Lowengart pinch ran for Rickles. Danny Valencia singled to third base, and advanced to second on a throwing error by third base. Lowengart advanced to second, and then to third on the error. Simon Rosenbaum walked and then, on a wild pitch, Rosenbaum advanced to second, Valencia advanced to third and Lowengart scored to even the game. The Swedes intentionally walked Paller and struck out Zach Penprase. With bases loaded and one out, Jeremy Wolf drew the walk that advanced the runner for the winning run by Valencia and for Israel to go 2-0 in the tournament. Next, Israel faces hosts Germany.

Israel will also face Great Britain and Netherlands in Group A. Pool B is made up of Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, Spain and Croatia. The top five teams advance to the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, to take place in Parma Italy from September 18-22.

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