Israel beats host Korea in extras to open WBC '17

Mar 08, 2017, 00:32

To call Team Israel an underdog at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) would be something of an understatement. He's the "Mensch on the Bench" but more importantly he's become their own "Jobu".

On Monday, Israel and South Korea, both members of Pool A, met for the tournament's first game with Israel eking out the 2-1 victory in 10 innings. In that case, the Netherlands and Israel will represent Pool A in the second round, and the two countries will meet Thursday to determine who will get the top seed, rendering the South Korea-Chinese Taipei showdown meaningless. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. After replacing Davis with a pinch-runner (Boston Red Sox farmhand Mike Meyers), Israel was able to push the winning run across on a Scott Burcham infield single.

Right-hander Jason Marquis, who started and threw three scoreless innings, is one of the few former major leagues on Team Israel.

Team Israel has not clinched qualification for the next round, but they are in a commanding position now having won the first two of three round-robin games.

The first name might not yet be familiar to A's fans, though the second likely is. Israel continues its Pool A play on Tuesday (10 p.m. Monday local time) against Chinese Taipei.

Taiwan rallied for three runs in the sixth inning, but Israel followed with five runs in the seventh and one more in the eighth, making the score 12-3. The only other player on Team Israel to possess actual Israeli citizenship is Dodgers minor leaguer Dean Kremer, a duel-citizen who was born in Stockton, California. With one out, Changmin Lim induced a check-swing grounder from Krieger on a full count, and Korea got the force at home. On top of all that, manager Jerry Weinstein holds a masters degree in physical education from UCLA.

According to mlb.com, "a team is declared the victor of a game if it leads by either 15 runs after five innings or 10 runs after seven". But Marquis was pulled before reaching the pitch limits that would prevent him from pitching again in this pool.

"I think the key to the WBC's success is to have the best possible rosters we can have", Manfred said.