Jason Marquis gets Team Israel off to great start at WBC

039;Mensch on a Bench' with Team Israel player Cody Decker

With its two wins (the first of which was a 2-1 extra-inning nail-biter over Korea on Monday), it appears likely that Israel will advance to the quadrennial tournament's second round, which begins on Sunday in Tokyo. Israel will win the pool with a win over the Netherlands tomorrow.

After losing 2-1 to Israel in yesterday's opening match, the hosts of Pool A were beaten once again at the Gocheok Sky Dome after the Dutch team claimed a 5-0 win. However, this will be easily Israel's steepest test in the tournament yet.

Burcham, who is in the Colorado Rockies' minor-league system, is on the Israel team because of Jewish heritage along with his recent success as a shortstop on the baseball field.

The championship round will take place in Los Angeles on March 20-22.

"It's been a ideal trip in every regard".

In June 2015, Israel senior national team player Dean Kremer became the first Israeli to ever be selected in the Major League Baseball draft.

Baseball's birthplace, the United States, has never won the Classic, hurt by the unwillingness of many clubs to part with top players during preseason.

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For more in-depth coverage of the WBC, including videos from Israel's opening game, click on this Major League Baseball link. They were not shown on any of Israel's major television or sports channels. Israel is now practically guaranteed a spot in the second round of the WBC. When we at Hardball Scoop previewed the Netherlands team prior to the tournament, we made note that they had so many talented bodies on the infield, that some may have to play out of position just to get in the lineup. It's OK, though. We're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere.

Starter Ayumu Ishikawa gave up just one run in four innings to secure the win.

"Nothing gives Israel more pride than being on the map in the most beloved sport in America", Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post political correspondent and avid Cubs fan from Chicago, tells ISRAEL21c.

The team's mascot, Mensch on the Bench, is also attracting mega attention. "It isn't as big as we'd like, and I think we can change that with what we're doing". But as this year's WBC has already proven, Israel doesn't care much for global rankings, and the lineup wasted no time against Chinese Taipei, battering starter Chun-lin Kuo for four first-inning runs and a lead it would never relinquish.

Dominating from the start, Israel scored four runs in the first inning, increased their lead to 6-0 in the third, and although conceding three runs in the sixth, all but wrapped up he victory by scoring five more times in the seventh. But Japan put the game out of reach in the same frame, with Tsutsugo cracking a two-run homer to finish it off.

When both Israel and Korea failed to score in the ninth, Davis drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on Lavarnway's single to center.

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