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Israel, ranked 41st in the world by the WBSC, has just handled Chinese Taipei, ranked 4th, in the same 24-hour period they beat South Korea, who are ranked 3rd. And they did it all while playing the role of visiting team.
After winning the first game of the WBC in extra innings, team Israel picks up their 2nd win of the tournament in under 24-hours. If their first win over South Korea came as a shock then their trouncing of Chinese Taipei 15-7 is sure to turn heads.
Israel scored four in the 1st, two in the 3rd, five in the 7th one in the 8th and four in the 9th. Ike Davis got things started with a single line drive to right to score both Sam Fuld and Ty Kelly with no outs. Then, on a single grounder to center, Tyler Kreiger drove in both Ike Davis and Nate Freiman.
In the third Ryan Lavarnway drove in both runs hitting a homer that brought in Zach Borenstein. With one out in the 7th it was Nate Freiman’s turn to do the driving. Ike Davis scored on a single line drive to left. Still with one out on the board, Nate made his way home, once again, off a single to center. This time it was a line drive from Tyler Kreiger that put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Scott Burcham then received a single on a bunt to the pitcher. Thanks to an error on the throw Ryan Lavarnway, Cody Decker and Tyler Krieger all crossed the plate.
In the top of the 8th with one man down, Nick Rickles got in on the action with yet another line drive to left sending Zach Borenstein home for the second time today. Come the 9th they still were not done running around the bases. Nate Freiman hit a 3-run homer bringing in Mike Meyers and Ty Kelly with just one out on the board.
Chinese Taipei’s offense showed up as well. It started in the third with a double from Chin-Sheng Lin on a fly ball to left that scored Chin-lung Hu and Chih-Hao Chang and left runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Yi-Chuan then took the sacrifice fly to center to score Chih-Hsien Chiang. Then in the bottom of the 9th, down 15-3, they decided to live out the baseball adage, ‘It’s not over until the final out is called,’ scoring four more to close the gap to eight. Chih-Hao Chang hit a double to left this go around scoring Ta-Hung Cheng and Che-Hsuan Lin. Then Chih-Hsein Chang doubled to the same spot to score Chang. Yi-Chuan Lin singled on a grounder to right to bring around Chiang. While exciting, in the end it simply would not be enough for the win.
Going into the Classic Israel was not seen as a strong competitor. This is their first visit to the WBC and the team is a collection of players who have had very few outings as a team.
While their defeat against South Korea could have been chalked up to more luck than talent in some aspects of the game, dominating the Chinese Taipei squad sends a definite message of their intentions to stick around for a while. One thing is for certain, they did not leave their men stranded today. While their earlier game found 31 left on base at day’s end, today that number was just 19. Pitchers are definitely continuing to get their innings. Today Israel’s bullpen went through seven arms and Chinese Taipei used six of their own. Combined they threw just 15 strikeouts on the day.
Team Netherlands begins their first game of the WBC at 10:00 CET. We’ll send a push notification when that report is live so make sure to turn on your notifications to stay on top of all the European game reports this month from the World Baseball Classic.