Team Israel suffers first loss in World Baseball Classic

Miranda GreerMar 14, 2017

The streak is over, and so might be any semifinal hopes.

Israel's national team suffered its first setback at the World Baseball Classic on Monday, losing to the Netherlands in Tokyo.

The trouble with Israel's unbelievable success on the baseball diamond is that Israelis neither understand the magnitude of its team's achievement nor revel in what should be national delirium over its team's accomplishment.

Israel is now 4-1 in the tournament overall, and 1-1 in the second round of the 16-team quadrennial tournament. According to WBC's rules, players can join a team if they would be eligible for citizenship. Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius paced the Netherlands with five RBIs, including a three-run homer in the fourth, and Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons contributed three hits atop the lineup. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win after striking out five and holding Israel to one run on five hits over six innings.

The top two teams in the pool advance.

Israel beat the Netherlands 4-2 in the first round in Seoul but saw a different team on Monday at Tokyo Dome. Israel has one game remaining in the round, with a Wednesday morning matchup against host Japan still on the docket. After a short break, Israel plays Japan at 3:00 a.m. PST on Wednesday, March 15.

The first reaction in the US, at least, was to hail the band of unheralded bearded guys, all but one from the USA with varying degrees of religious conviction, playing under the Israeli flag in the name of promoting baseball in the Jewish state. Luckily for team Israel, Josh Zeid got Cuba's Willian Saavedra to ground out to third, ending the game.

Israel has been the talk of the tournament so far.

Two of the three teams Israel defeated en route to capturing the Pool A title in South Korea - South Korea and Taiwan - were ranked third and fourth respectively in comparison to Israel's own ranking: 41st and dead last.

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