Tuesday, March 07, 2017

2017 World Baseball Classic: Team Israel Upending Pool-A

From the desk of:  PLANET BASEBALL


Israeli Highs Overshadow South Korean Woes

Pool A: @ Seoul, South Korea

Look what Team Israel did ... again!

Home runs by catcher Ryan Lavarnway and first baseman Nate Freiman paved the way for Israel's 15-7 rout over Chinese Taipei.  The Mensch Nine tallied 20 hits, five for extra bases, and went 9 for 18 with runners in scoring position.  Starter Corey Baker tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball and fanned three to earn the victory.  Already having defeated favored South Korea in Monday's Classic opener, Team Israel is now 2-0 in pool play.

Team Netherlands whitewashed Korea 5-0 in their first game of pool play.  Starter Rick van den Hurk tossed four scoreless innings, while allowing only three hits for the victory.  After shortstop Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a single to left, and Jurickson Profar followed with a home run to right, the Netherlands never looked back.  Left fielder Randolph Obuder added a home run in the sixth.

Meanwhile, host South Korea is in big trouble.  With an astonishing 0-2 record, they must now defeat Chinese Taipei in their final game of pool play to even qualify for a tie-breaker.  If Netherlands defeats Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, all bets are off.  Looking to avenge an early exit in 2013, South Korea entered this year's Classic a natural Pool A favorite.  However, they have been limited to just one run and 13 hits through two games.

All this means Chinese Taipei is now thrust into the role of spoiler.  Their next game against Netherlands obviously carries huge implications, while their final pool game against Korea to follow.

Pool B: @ Tokyo, Japan

In a much anticipated match, the revamped Japanese squad dismantled Cuba in Tuesday morning's Pool B opener at Tokyo Dome.  Japan got home runs from third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda and left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo en route to an 11-6 victory.  Cuban clean up hitter and left fielder Alfredo Despaigne homered in the seventh, but his team's efforts were otherwise too little, and too late.  Cuba committed three throwing errors in the game.

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