Team Israel qualifies for World Baseball Classic

Team Israel defeats Great Britain 9-1, advancing to the World Baseball Classic for the first time.

Elad Benari,

Baseball (illustration)
Baseball (illustration)

Team Israel on Sunday night qualified for the World Baseball Classic for the first time, after defeating Great Britain by a score of 9-1.

The game was played at MCU Park in Brooklyn.

Team Israel was powered by two-run homers from Blake Gailen and Ryan Lavarnway in the fifth inning and scored three additional runs in the 8th inning to take a commanding lead.

The Israelis did not allow a hit for seven innings before Great Britain got on the board with back to back hits in the 8th for their only run.

Pitching the 9th inning for Team Israel was Dean Kremer, who in June became the first Israeli to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team when he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the MLB Draft.

Kremer was originally drafted last year by the San Diego Padres, but chose not to sign and instead attend University Nevada Las Vegas.

With Sunday's win, Team Israel joins the elite 16 for the first time and will play in Pool B in the World Baseball Classic beginning March 7 in Seoul against host South Korea, Chinese Taipei and The Netherlands.

In 2012, Team Israel was eliminated from the qualifier by Spain. The qualifying game went into the 10th inning, when poor pitching put two players for the Spanish team on base, eventually touching home plate.

That loss resonated with some of the players on the team, including right-handed pitcher Josh Zeid, currently in the New York Mets organization, and third baseman Cody Decker, who is currently in the Boston Red Sox organization.

Zeid picked up the victory in Team Israel's win on Sunday, pitching three innings and allowing no hits, while walking one and striking out three.