Thursday, September 20, 2012

Israelis win first game at WBC

Well well... lookee here. Team Israel has won the first game at the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Jupiter, Florida.

"For it's one, two, shalosh strikes your out, at the old ball game!"

If Israel earns three wins during the qualifying round, the team will move on to the main competition next March.

Here's JTA's story on the baseball story Jews around the world will be following with interest for the next few days.

(JTA) -- Israel defeated South Africa in the first game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.

The Israeli team topped South Africa's national team 7-3 in Wednesday night's game in Jupiter, Fla.

Nate Freiman, who plays minor league Class AA baseball for the San Diego Padres organization, hit two home runs, in the first and ninth innings.

The Israeli team is managed by former Major League catcher Brad Ausmus. Diaspora Jews are eligible to play on behalf of Israel.

Three Israelis -- Alon Leichman, Shlomo Upetz and Dan Rothem -- are among the pitchers. The remaining players are Jewish and most come from minor league teams in the United States. Former Major Leaguers Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler also are on the 28-man roster.

The other teams in the qualifier group are Spain and France. One team will advance to the World Baseball Classic in March.
Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis has said he will play for Israel if it advances to the Classic.
What the JTA story doesn't mention is that Youkilis also told Israeli sports radio earlier this month that he's heard from other Jewish major leaguers that they'd also hop on board the Israeli team if it makes it to the World Baseball Classic.

Aside from Youk, other active Jewish MLB players include, Ryan Braun, Sam Fuld,
Jason Marquis, and Ian Kinsler.

Brad Ausmas getting in touch with his roots at The Kotel earlier this summer.


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