By Tevy Pilc
B’nai Brith Canada
For the first time in its history, the Israeli National Baseball team will be playing with the best for the top prize in international baseball.
With a 9-1 qualifying round win against Great Britain on Sunday, Israel earned a berth into the World Baseball Classic.
The team’s roster includes former Major League Baseball players Jason Marquis, Ike Davis, Craig Breslow, Nate Freiman, Josh Satin and Ryan Lavarnway.
Scenes from the celebration. ?? ? pic.twitter.com/egGb9aH9YB
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) September 26, 2016
Video: Team #Israel @ILBaseball beats Great Britain 9-1 to qualify for @WBCBaseball elite 16. Next stop: Seoul, Korea in March! pic.twitter.com/fFJgLOwFms
— Bill Swersey (@swersey) September 26, 2016
The win was incredibly gratifying, particularly after coming so close to advancing to the 2013 tournament. Israel fell one victory short of advancing in the previous tournament after a heartbreaking loss to Spain in 2012.
The World Baseball Classic, which was first played in 2006 and held every four years (with the exception of 2009 when it was three years after), pits the top sixteen baseball nations against one another. Like other similar world cup events, teams play in a round-robin format before the top teams in each group advance to sudden death matchups.
Israel will play in a group that includes South Korea, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands. Their games will be played in Seoul, South Korea. Other groups will play in venues in Tokyo, Miami and Guadalajara, Mexico.
Justin Bregman, B’nai Brith Canada’s Sports Director, was thrilled to learn about the win.
“It’s a wonderful moment for Jewish and Israeli baseball fans,” Bregman said. “I spend a lot of time with players and managers of teams in our B’nai Brith Baseball League and I can say without question the passion for the game is incredible.”
The 2017 World Baseball Classic will take place from March 9-22.