The wait is over for Team Israel.
Fans were treated to an entertaining final game of the WBC qualifying round between two very passionate teams.
Blake Gailen and Ryan Lavarnway hit 2-run homers and Cody Decker added a solo blast in the seventh inning to lead Team Israel to a 9-1 victory over Great Britain Sunday night at MCU Park.
It was a beautiful night for baseball on Coney Island. This wasn’t a Brooklyn Cyclones game, although former manager Tom Gamboa was in the home team dugout as the bench coach for Israel.
The win advanced Team Israel to the World Baseball Classic next March, it is the first time they’ve qualified. In 2012, Israel was eliminated by Spain in the qualifier round. The loss was a heartbreaking one for Israel, they’ve been patiently waiting for this opportunity for nearly four years.
It was a dominant four days in Brooklyn for Team Israel. They won all three of their games played, two against Great Britain and a 1-0 game against a Brazil team managed by MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
Team Israel’s bats produced plenty of firepower, to go along with the stadium’s added fireworks after the game. It was the pitching, however, which served as the catalyst for Team Israel over the weekend.
38-year old, 15-year MLB veteran, and Staten Island native Jason Marquis pitched four innings of no-hit baseball Sunday night against Great Britain, striking out five batters. He pitched to a 1.29 ERA in two starts, both against Great Britain.
“I try to approach every opportunity I get with as much passion as I can,” said Marquis afterwards. “It was definitely our goal to win this little qualifier and get to the main event if that’s what you want to call it.”
Marquis departed and turned the ball over to Josh Zeid, he’d pitch three more innings of scoreless baseball. Zeid pitched for the Mets in 2016 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
Great Britain didn’t get their first hit until the 8th inning which eventually led to their only run of the night. Team Israel tacked on a few more insurance runs and their bullpen took care of the rest.
Great Britain’s manager Liam Carroll was tossed from the game by the home plate umpire for arguing on the behalf of Mets’ prospect Champ Stuart when the outfielder was ejected after striking out for the third time on the night.
“Frustration about the consistency, that was the biggest thing for me. Champ was frustrated,” Carroll said afterwards. “We’ve got some very young professional players and short fuses from umpires aren’t gonna help those guys develop.”
Team Israel also features former Mets Ike Davis and Josh Satin, Davis went 0 for 3 in Sunday night’s win.
With as much passion as Carroll and Great Britain brought to the field over the weekend in Brooklyn, it was the experience and depth of Team Israel which prevailed.
Team Israel will head to South Korea, in March, where they’ll join Taiwan, Korea, and the Netherlands in WBC pool play.