Israel finishes 4-1, advances to Euro last-8

Defeat to Netherlands in final round-robin game doesn't dampen blue-and-white hopes to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

September 12, 2019 15:50
1 minute read.
DESPITE A 13-4 loss to the Netherlands yesterday at the European Baseball Championship in Germany, I

DESPITE A 13-4 loss to the Netherlands yesterday at the European Baseball Championship in Germany, Israel still finished second in Pool A with a 4-1 record and will play France on Friday in the quarterfinals.. (photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN)

Team Israel will play France on Friday in the quarterfinals of the European Baseball Championship in Germany.

Israel finished second in Pool A after losing its final round-robin game on Wednesday to the reigning European champion, the Netherlands, by a final score of 13-4.
With Shlomo Lipetz on the mound, Israel started strong with a two-run home run from Danny Valencia in the first inning.

However, the Netherlands evened up the game in the next inning and continued to pile on the runs with a strong offensive barrage throughout the contest.

The blue-and-white was able to add two runs in the sixth inning, but wasn’t able to hold off the Dutch, who hit four home runs in the game.

Israel came into Wednesday’s game leading Pool A with four wins and no losses, having beaten the Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Great Britain. The Netherlands had three wins and a loss, to the Czechs.

With both teams finishing at 4-1, the tie-breaker was the head-to-head matchup, which sent the Israelis to the playoffs in second place. On tap is a French team that finished with three wins and two losses in Pool B.

The top four teams from each pool will qualify for the quarterfinals and the top five teams out of both groups at the tournament after the playoffs will move on will advance to the WBSC Olympic Qualifier Europe-Africa tournament in Parma, Italy, beginning on September 18.

One spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be awarded to the winner of that tournament, which will feature six teams: the top five from the European Championship and South Africa, the winner of the 2019 African Baseball Championship.

The second-place team in Italy will get another qualification opportunity for the Olympics in the final qualifying event..

“We looked very strong throughout the week,” said Israel Association of Baseball President Peter Kurz. “We are now focused on our next goal, which is to make it into the top five teams in the tournament.

“We faced some extremely strong teams this week,” added 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.”

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