Team Israel eliminated from World Baseball Classic

Israeli left fielder Blake Gailen. Photo:TORU YAMANAKA / AFP)

ISRAEL’S remarkable run at the World Baseball Classic came to an end on Wednesday with an 8-3 defeat to Japan in Tokyo.

After the Netherlands beat Cuba 14-1 earlier in the day, Israel knew that it would have to defeat Japan to maintain any chance of reaching the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

For five innings, Israel kept Japan at bay, with the score remaining tied at 0-0. However, five runs for the hosts in the sixth inning blew the game open and there was no way back for the blue-and-white after Japan increased its lead to 8-0 in the eighth inning.

Japan ended Pool E with a 3-0 record, with Netherlands advancing from second place at 2-1. Israel finished in third at 1-2, ahead of Cuba at 0-3.

Despite the disappointing defeat and exit, Israel will look back at its first-ever participation in the tournament as an outstanding success.

Israel stunned the baseball world by winning Pool A with a 3-0 record to advance to the last eight. The team, which is built around MLB-affiliated Jewish Americans, beat South Korea, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands in Seoul before surprising Cuba in their first game in the last eight in Tokyo.

However, a 12-2 loss to the Netherlands on Monday complicated Israel’s situation and the defeat to Japan sealed its fate.