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Israeli national baseball team qualifies for Tokyo 2020

22 de Septiembre de 2019 a las 21:52

Photos courtesy of Israel Association of Baseball
By Eduardo Harari
TORONTO. - In a unfamiliar stage for a baseball Olympic qualifying match, Parma served as great backdrop to the 11-1 devastating victory of Israel over South Africa which places them into the six nation tournament in Tokyo next summer.
Israel's team beat South Africa in the qualifying tournament of European and African Nations. The Israelis are the first team to qualify besides the host nation that gets a bye into the tournament.
Although the major damage came in the eight inning, South Africa's chances at qualifying were consumed in the second when Jared Elario loaded the bases on two walks and a hits batsman that send him to the showers early. In came Garth Cahill to surender a walk and a single that gave Israel a 4-0 lead.
Team Israel advanced to the Europe/Africa Olympic qualifier after beating France in the European Championship on September 13. Overall, the white and blue crew finished fourth in the competition.
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.
The last time an Israeli team qualified for a ball event at the Olympics was in 1976, when a soccer team competed in Montreal, Canada.
Baseball has made sporadic appearances at the summer Olympics and was last played at the Beijing Games in 2008. Under new International Olympic Committee policies, the host country’s Olympic committee can propose additional sports to be played alongside the standard events. With the backing of Japan, where the sport is popular, the IOC approved baseball as an event at the 2020 games.
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 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.