The Israel senior men’s team opened its campaign most impressively to win the B Pool of baseball’s European Championships, being played in Vienna. On the eve of playing its fourth game against Lithuania, Team Israel was 3-0.
In its first game, played on Tuesday, Team Israel dominated Belarus from start to finish. A strong pitching performance by Dean Kremer left the Belarussians confused as to how to get on base. The Israelis started their tournament with an excellent offensive showing, including an inside the park home run from center fielder Aric Weinberg, and a home run from first baseman Simon Rosenbaum. This constant offensive pressure, coupled with an impressive defensive performance, culminated in a 13-1 win for Israel.
Day 2, and Israel faced Poland. Starting pitcher Alon Leichman kept the Poles at bay, with no hits for five innings, while the Israeli bats were hot, with 4 runs scored, and David Weiss with 3 for 4 and two RBIs. Then the Poles warmed up and started scoring, tying the game by the sixth inning, and taking a two-run lead by the top of the ninth. In dramatic fashion, and the bottom of the ninth, Israel loaded the bases, and all was left for a fairy-tale ending was for catcher Eitan Maoz to smash a ball over the right field fence for a grand slam home run, and a -6 victory for Israel.
On Wednesday, Israel faced the unbeaten Austrian team. Already at the top of the first inning, Israel showed dominance, with Rosenbaum homering to left field for Israel to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. It was a lead Israel would never relinquish. By the fifth inning it racked up 7 runs, while starting pitcher Shlomo Lipetz gave up only 2 hits through 5 innings, 3 hit-by pitches in a row allowing Austria to score its only run of the game. In the 8th inning, Tal Erel got a 2 RBI single for 10-1 Israel. Lipetz completed the game with a strikeout, and the 10-1 victory.
Israel’s game against Lithuania last night ended after press time.