Israel Notches Stunning Victories Over South Korea, Taiwan in World Baseball Classic

March 7, 2017

< 1 min read

Israel shocked the baseball world Monday, beating heavily favored host nation South Korea 2-1 in 10 innings in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament, before going on the next day to smash Taiwan’s team with a 15-7 victory, leaving the underdog team undefeated so far.

With Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred in attendance at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Israel’s Scott Burcham broke a 1-1 tie with a single up the middle against Korea’s Chang-Yong Lim that allowed the go-head runner to score.

“Definitely the most stressful game I’ve ever been a part of. But it was worth it,” New York Mets prospect Ty Kelly wrote on Twitter after the game.

The Israeli victory was the first game of the 16-team WBC international tournament. Israel and Korea compete in Pool A, which also includes Taiwan and the Netherlands.

In its match against Taiwan on Tuesday, the Israeli team was again victorious, clinching a three-run homer by Nate Freiman in the ninth inning. The team will next go on to play the Netherlands, whose team, while ranked much higher than Israel, is considered weaker than both the South Korean and Taiwanese teams.

Most of the baseball players representing Israel are Jewish Americans, with only two members of the team possessing Israeli passports. According to WBC rules, players can compete for any country in which they are eligible for citizenship. Under Israeli law, all Jews receive automatic citizenship.

With additional reporting by Breaking Israel News staff

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