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Israel clinches first-ever spot in World Baseball Classic

Blue and white team hammers Great Britain 9-1 in New York to earn place in ‘world cup of baseball,’ to be held in South Korea

Jason Marquis, who played 15 years in the major leagues, delivering a pitch for Israel against Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic in Brooklyn, NY, September 22, 2016. (Hillel Kuttler)
Jason Marquis, who played 15 years in the major leagues, delivering a pitch for Israel against Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic in Brooklyn, NY, September 22, 2016. (Hillel Kuttler)

Israel became the final team to qualify for next year’s World Baseball Classic tournament with a 9-1 rout of Great Britain on Sunday.

Israel will make its first appearance in the event after coming out on top in a four-team qualifying tournament at MCU Park in New York.

Five pitchers combined on a four-hitter and Israel slammed three home runs in the championship game qualifier in Brooklyn, earning a first bid to the international tournament.

Israel took a no-hitter into the eighth inning with starter Jason Marquis throwing four innings and striking out five and winning pitcher Josh Zeid the next three with three strikeouts.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway had two hits, including a solo homer in a four-run fifth inning, and drove in three runs.

Israel advances to the World Baseball Classic, a quadrennial event modeled after soccer’s World Cup, and will play March 7-10 in South Korea. The other teams in their pool are Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Netherlands.

In 2012, Israel fell a game short of qualifying for the tournament.

Against Great Britain, outfielder Blake Gailen snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth with a two-run homer.

Shortstop Scott Burcham contributed three of Israel’s 11 hits and scored twice. Outfielder Zach Borenstein added two hits, including a run-scoring triple, and third baseman Cody Decker belted a solo homer.

It was the second victory for Israel in the qualifying tournament over Great Britain, which defeated Brazil on Saturday to reach the title game. Israel edged Brazil, 1-0, on Friday to advance to the final.

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