Israel knocked out of World Baseball Classic with 10-0 loss to Dominican Republic

Team manages only 1 hit a day after coming out on the losing side of a historic perfect game, eliminating it from contention ahead of Wednesday match against undefeated Venezuela

Israel left fielder Spencer Horowitz is unable to catch a ball hit by Dominican Republic's Juan Soto for a double during the first inning of a World Baseball Classic game, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)
Israel left fielder Spencer Horowitz is unable to catch a ball hit by Dominican Republic's Juan Soto for a double during the first inning of a World Baseball Classic game, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Two games, one hit, zero chances of advancing.

Israel’s quest for world baseball glory came skidding to an early halt Tuesday night as it was outmatched by a dominating Latin American squad for the second day in a row, a disappointing end for a one-time Cinderella that had hoped to prove its deep run at the 2017 World Baseball Classic was no fluke.

One day after being blanked by Puerto Rico’s pitchers, Israel’s batters only managed a single hit against the Dominican Republic, falling 10-0 in seven innings.

The lone hit? A Spencer Horwitz single up the middle to lead off the the third inning, which broke a streak of 30 straight retired batters for Team Israel going back to Monday night. It would prove to be the team’s sole bright spot on offense.

The loss dropped Israel to 1-2, putting it in fourth place in a packed Group D and eliminating it from contention. On Wednesday afternoon it will face an undefeated Venezuela for an ultimately meaningless game against a team that has already secured its spot in the next round.

Israel’s tormentors from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republican, meanwhile, will square off against each other for a hotly anticipated winner goes on, loser goes home match Wednesday night.

Israel’s sole win came Sunday against Nicaragua, which has also been eliminated.

On Monday, Israel became the first team in World Baseball Classic history to fail to put a runner on base, giving Puerto Rico a perfect game with an asterisk. Officially, a perfect game must go nine innings and Monday’s game was stopped in the 8th due to mercy rules.

In a frustrating repeat of Monday’s historic loss, the Jewish state’s lineup again struggled at the plate, while its pitchers were tattooed repeatedly by Dominican Republic hitters.

Israel players sit in the dugout after the Dominican Republic beat Israel 10-0 in seven innings via mercy rule during a World Baseball Classic game, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Manny Machado homered, singled and drove in three runs for the Dominicans and AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez and Eloy Jiménez each had two hits for the team.

The Dominican Republic finished with 15 hits against seven Israeli pitchers – the last a two-run double by Jean Segura that ended the game in the seventh because of the tournament’s mercy rule.

Jiménez gave the Dominican Republic a quick lead with his run-scoring single in the first.

Machado’s solo shot and Ketel Marte’s RBI double in the third made it 3-0. Machado hit a slider from reliever Evan Kravetz 437 feet into the pavilion above left-center for his second homer of the tournament.

Dominican Republic players celebrate with Robinson Cano (24) and Nelson Cruz (23) after Jean Segura hit a ground rule double scoring Cano and Cruz for a mercy rule 10-0 win in the seventh inning of a World Baseball Classic game against Israel, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

The Dominican Republic broke it open in the sixth. Rodriguez doubled in two runs and Machado followed with a two-run single.

Genesis Cabrera got the win in relief while 19-year-old Diamondbacks prospect Jacob Steinmetz was credited with the loss, despite striking out three in an inning and a third, including Machado, a six-time All-Star, and Jeremy Peña, the 2022 World Series most valuable player.

Steinmetz entered the game with only 25.1 innings of experience in professional baseball.

Israel’s Jacob Steinmetz delivers a pitch during the first inning of a World Baseball Classic game against the Dominican Republic, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

The Israeli team had come to Miami with hopes of surpassing their 2017 performance, when it became the surprise juggernaut of the tourney by reaching the second round despite representing a country with almost no tradition of organized baseball.

It’s success was largely thanks to a quirk in World Baseball Classic rules, which allow anyone eligible for citizenship to play on a country’s team. That opened the roster to players from the US, Canada and elsewhere with at least one Jewish grandparent.

The Dominican Republic, meanwhile, is famous for producing some of baseball’s biggest stars, and is the bookmaker’s favorite, along with Japan, to win the whole tourney.

Because Israel is guaranteed to finish above Nicaragua in its group, it will automatically qualify for the 2026 WBC.

“That’s big for the organization,” said Israel manager Ian Kinsler.

JTA and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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