Posted March. 08, 2017 07:03,
Updated March. 08, 2017 07:10
MLB.com, the official homepage of Major League Baseball, covered a story of Israel's victory saying 2017 World Baseball Classic began with a dramatic scene. CSB Sports said underdog Israel stunned Korea, adding Israel could become the Cinderella in this competition. Japan's Sports Hochi wrote, "Turbulent opening game, historical win."
Israel players also expressed their surprise for their victory. "The game was the peak game in his baseball career," said Josh Zeid, who became the winning pitcher with three innings and no loss against the Korean team.
Israel was initially seen as a surprise rival in Group A in Round 1. As games unraveled, however, the team has been garnering assessments for its solid strength. At the second game in Round 1 with Taiwan on Tuesday, Team Israel had six hits in the first inning for four score points, and maintained an advantage throughout the game. The team showed off strong attack strength with Ryan Lavarnway's two-point home run and Nathan Freiman's three-point home run, to win at 15-7. Shortstop Scott Burcham, who led his team to victory against Team Korea, and center fielder Sam Fuld, also contributed.
Jerry Weinstein, manager of Team Israel, and the manager for the Hartford Yard Goats, also deserves attention. At the game with Team Korea, Weinstein replaced starting pitcher Jason Marquis who had been showing strong pitching, in just 45 throws, below the limit standard of 65 throws in one round. This was a strategic groundwork to place him on the mound at the game with Team Netherlands on Thursday. Weinstein also cancelled ground training for players who had played extra time the previous day for their physical recovery. Infield defense players also actively attempted shifts based on individual hitters in the previous two games.
Having grabbed the first two wins in Group A, Team Israel can confirm its entry into Round 2 at No. 1 ranking at Group A if it wins the final game with Team Netherlands team.
In the meantime, Team Korea can be positioned advantageously to qualify for Round 2, if Israel finishes Round 1 with three wins.