Israel’s baseball team advances in early Olympic qualifying tournament
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Israel’s baseball team advances in early Olympic qualifying tournament

National team finishes second in its pool at European Baseball Championship; loses to the Dutch after beating Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany, UK

Israeli infielders and a coach gather around picher Josh Zeid (#28) in the bottom of the third inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E second round match between Israel and Japan at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on March 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / TORU YAMANAKA)
Israeli infielders and a coach gather around picher Josh Zeid (#28) in the bottom of the third inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E second round match between Israel and Japan at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on March 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / TORU YAMANAKA)

Israel’s national baseball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Baseball Championship being held in Germany, an early Olympic qualifying tournament.

Israel finished second in its pool with a record of 4-1, losing only to the current European champion, the Netherlands, on Wednesday, following victories over the Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Great Britain.

Israel will meet France on Friday in the quarter-finals, a round-robin competition. The top five teams will advance to the World Baseball Softball Confederation Olympic Qualifier Europe-Africa tournament in Parma, Italy, which starts on Sept. 18. The sixth team playing in that tournament will be South Africa, which won the 2019 African Baseball Championship.

The winner of the qualifier tournament will get a bid to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The runner-up will have another opportunity to qualify for Tokyo at a future qualifying event.

Highlights Germany vs Israel, 09.09.2019, #BaseballEM2019

Highlights of Germany vs Israel (2-4) at the Baseball-EM 2019 Deutscher Baseball und Softball Verband e.V. (DBV) IAB – Israel Association of Baseball #BaseballEM2019

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Baseball-EM 2019‎‏ ב- יום שני, 9 בספטמבר 2019

The Israeli team, which is packed with Jewish-American college players and some pros, had the country’s best showing in the last World Baseball Classic in 2017, surprising many by making the main tournament, where it finished sixth.

While the World Baseball Classic only requires that players be eligible for citizenship of the country they represent, for Olympic qualifying tournaments and for the actual Olympics players must be citizens of the country they represent. The majority of the national team players are either Jewish Americans who received citizenship in order to play or Israelis who live in the United States. Among the former pros on the squad are Danny Valencia, 34, and Jeremy Wolf, 25.

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