Legends On Deck

Is Israel The Cinderella Team of The World Baseball Classic?

The team from Israel is looking to be the Cinderella team of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. After defeating Team Korea on Monday 2-1, the bats came alive on Tuesday against Chinese Taipei, as they pounded out 20 hits on their way to a 15-7 victory.

Now at 2-0, Israel is in a prime position to win their pool outright and move on to the second round. But what is standing in their way of a perfect record may be Team Netherlands, who defeated Korea 5-0 on Tuesday and walked off Chinese Taipei 6-5 on Wednesday. With both teams now at 2-0, and guaranteed a berth in the second round, a showdown is set for Thursday and the right to move on as the top team in Pool A.

So far the Israel offense has been outstanding scoring 17 runs in two days, led by Los Angeles Dodgers Ike Davis, Boston Red Sox Nate Freiman, New York Mets Ty Kelly, Oakland A’s Ryan Lavarnway, and Cleveland Indians Tyler Krieger.

As for the pitchers, minor leaguers for the St. Louis Cardinals Corey Baker and Mets Josh Zeid and former major leaguer Jason Marquis have done their part along with a solid pitching staff in keeping their two opponents off stride early in the classic.

But Thursday will be their biggest test yet, as they face a Netherlands lineup that boasts five current and one former major leaguer.

Looking beyond their third game on Thursday, the second round may pin Israel up against powerhouses Japan and China, or possibly the always dangerous Cuba, as all three teams are still in the hunt to advance.

So far Israel has the make-up to be that team that can run the table and shock the world, but it only gets harder from this point on.

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