World Baseball Classic: Israel Stuns Korea 2-1, In Classic Opener
In the previous three World Baseball Classics Team Israel did not enter (2006, 2009) and did not qualify (2013), but after qualifying to compete in the 2017 series, they showed Monday that they are to be taken serious.
The highly underdog Israel team faced off against host Korea early Monday morning (game time 4:30 am ET) and came away with a 2-1, 10 inning victory to open pool play.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the 10th inning, Israel had runners on the corners and two outs. Scott Burcham facing Chang-Yong Lim, grounded a ball up the middle, and second baseman Geon-chang Seo made a sliding stop but was unable to make the play and the go ahead run scored.
Former MLB starter and 15 year vet, Jason Marquis started for Israel, tossing three scoreless innings, striking out three, while allowing just three hits.
For Korea, Won-jun Chang matched Marquis by keeping Israel mainly off the scoreboard allowing just one run on two hits, with five strike outs. The only fault by Chang was a bases loaded walk allowing Israel to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The lone run for Korea came in the fifth inning when Seo hit a base hit to left field platting Kyoung-min Hur to tie the game at 1-1.
But the offense could not get going against Israel pitchers as the host team dropped their opener 2-1.
In what will be deemed as a major upset to start their first ever Classic, Israel will now face Chinese Taipei on Monday 10 PM EST, Tuesday 12 PM KST for an opportunity to go up 2-0 in their bracket.
Korea will face the Netherlands on Tuesday 4:30 AM EST, Tuesday 6:30 PM KST, needing a victory to stay in contention.