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Team Israel suffers first loss in World Baseball Classic

Team Israel suffers first loss in World Baseball Classic

At a festive gathering of Team Israel supporters in the alcohol-free room of a Jerusalem sports bar, dozens of adults and children watched their team lose to the Netherlands 12-2 on Monday (March 13) in Tokyo.

Israel is now 1-1 in the second round of the 16-team quadrennial tournament and 4-1 overall. Gregorius got his final RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Since the Netherlands held a 10-run lead after the seventh, Israel had three more outs to make a comeback. A loss to Japan would complicate matters significantly for Israel: At 1-2, it would need help from Cuba and the Netherlands to avoid being eliminated outright, depending on how Tuesday's action plays out.

Two of the three teams Israel defeated en route to capturing the Pool A title in South Korea - South Korea and Taiwan - were ranked third and fourth respectively in comparison to Israel's own ranking: 41st and dead last.

Gregorius' production should not be a surprise. Every one of his 11 homers at Yankee Stadium went to his pull field, right field, as he learned to play the park.

"He has a lot of battle in him", then-Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Gregorius when he was recalled by the Diamondbacks in 2013. He has been used at DH four times, starting at shortstop in the pool game against Isreal.




Dutch bats, meanwhile, pounded Israel pitching for 15 hits with Andrelton Simmons, Wladimir Balentien and Yurendell de Caster each collecting three.

"I often disagree with my Israel-based relatives over Israel's policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians, but we've all been rooting for Team Israel and it's been a great way to bond", said Benjamin Levy, a California-based college student.

The loss was the first of the tournament for Israel who dip to 1-1 and must play Japan in their Pool E finale while the Netherlands take on winless Cuba.

"Before the game, we didn't know Israel had such good players", Marti said through an interpreter.

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