Israel loses to Spain in 3rd-place contest, Olympic qualifying on tap

Blue-and-white among top five teams from European Championship to advance to this week's tournament in Germany for spot in 2020 Games

September 16, 2019 00:19
1 minute read.
Israel loses to Spain in 3rd-place contest, Olympic qualifying on tap

DESPITE back-to-back losses to Italy and Spain at the European Baseball Championship in Germany, Israel still finished among the top five teams and will head to Italy for the WBSC Olympic Qualifier Europe-Africa tournament later this week. (photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN)

After beating France on Friday to clinch a spot in the WBSC Olympic Qualifier Europe-Africa tournament later this week, Israel lost a 7-6 heart-breaker to Italy on Saturday and was defeated 16-11 by Spain on Sunday to finish fourth in the European Baseball Championship in Germany.

Italy and the Netherlands dueled late Sunday night in the final, while Spain and Israel will both head to Germany still confident in rebounding to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will feature a six-team tournament, with host Japan guaranteed a spot.

The Czech Republic claimed the crucial fifth place at the Euros and the last spot in the Olympic qualifiers in dramatic fashion by beating the host Germans 4-3 on Sunday.

One Olympic spot will be awarded to the winner of the Europe-Africa qualifier tournament in Italy, which will feature the five European teams 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 world qualifying event.

This was 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… this dream came true, which is a very exciting achievement. We still have more games to win, but our players are motivated to go all the way to Tokyo 2020.”

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