Israeli baseball has advanced to 26th place in the world from 28th place in 2012, the Israel Association of Baseball announced this week.
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In the latest International Baseball Federation ranking, Israel moved past the Czech Republic, which has hosted many of the European tournaments that Israel has taken part in over the last several years.
The Blue and White also gained at the expense of South Africa, which dropped from 27th to 31st place. Immediately ahead of Israel are Thailand in 26th place, Britain in 25th place and the Philippines in 24th place.
“This is a major accomplishment for Israeli baseball and is due to the efforts of all the national teams who have placed so high in recent tournaments, including the second-place finish for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers to the second-place finish of the Junior national team at the PONY tournament last year,” the organization said in a statement.
According to IAB President Peter Kurz, “This is simply validation of the IAB’s ongoing efforts to elevate the level of baseball in Israel.”
Kurz noted Israel’s uptrends including “the hiring of Nate Fish as our national director, the increased play in every region, and the successful local tournaments and clinics we are running.”
Kurz said the association had set its sights on 18th place in the world after the next World Baseball Classic tournament in 2016.