Just over 5 months since qualifying to be the final team in 2017 World Baseball Classic, Team Israel was back in action, picking up where they left off by defeating Korea 2-1 in a 10-inning game.
Israel took an early 1-0 lead in the Top of the 2nd, when Nate Freiman led off with a walk and a double by Zach Borenstein made it 2nd & 3rd. Cody Decker went down swinging, but Ryan Lavarnway walked to load the bases.
Tyler Krieger drew a bases loaded walk to send Freiman home and get the contingent of Israel supporters going. Scott Burcham struck out and Sam Fuld grounded out to end the inning with the bases loaded, something that would haunt them for most of the game
Jason Marquis continued to be the ace of Team Israel, throwing 3 shutout innings. Zach Thornton, who is in the Mets system, threw a shutout 4th before running into trouble in the 5th. Kyoung-min Hur drew a walk and Jaeho Kim was hit by pitch.
Israel Manager Jerry Weinstein pulled Thornton for former Staten Island Yankee Jeremy Bleich. Bleich got Yongku Lee to go down looking, but gave up a single to Geonchang Seo to tie the game. However, Bleich got the next two batters to pop out, limiting the damage.
Israel would load the bases in both the 7th & 8th, but failed to score a run in either inning.
Mets farmhand Josh Zeid was summoned in to pitch the 8th inning for Israel. Zeid, who pitched phenomenally for Israel in September, did allow Korea to load the bases, but kept them from scoring. Zeid did allow a batter to reach base in the 9th, but the runner was caught stealing to send the game into extra innings.
Former Brooklyn Cyclone Ike Davis drew a one-out walk in the Top of the 10th for Israel. A single by Lavarnway sent him to 3rd, where he was pulled for Pinch Runner Mike Meyers. Krieger lay down a bunt, but the ball popped right into the air, and was caught by the Korean pitcher Chang-Yong Lim.
Burcham grounded the ball right to 2B Geonchang Seo, who dove for it, but realized he had no play and ate the play, which allowed Meyers to score, giving Israel a 2-1 lead. With runners on 1st & 2nd, Sam Fuld grounded out, putting Israel 3 outs away from a victory.
Looking to redeem himself, Geonchang Seo led off the bottom half of the inning and hit a screaming line drive that would have been a hit had it not been for Burcham’s quick reflexes. Zeid struck out the next two, giving Israel a huge victory by upsetting the Koreans in their own stadium.
Israel: Israel will take on Chinese Taipei at 10:30 PM Eastern time. Another win would put the Israelis in a good enough position to advance to the second round of the Classic.
Israeli 3B / Bench Coach Tom Gamboa (via Facebook)
It took 10 innings and over 4 hours but Team Israel beat South Korea 2-1. 2 more wins and we advance to Japan!!
Israel Baseball Association President Peter Kurz
This was a great win for Israel and great win for the players who really fought and thrived. We play Taiwan [Team Chinese Taipei] in 10 hours and our players need to rest and be ready for that one.