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Israel suffer first defeat at World Baseball Classic

Israel suffer first defeat at World Baseball Classic

Team Israel shocked viewers at the World Baseball Classic, continuing its undefeated streak.

Following Gregorius' sacrifice fly, Zarraga singled in the run that put the Netherlands ahead 12-2.

The Dutch took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning and added four more runs in both the third and the fourth innings to open a 10-0 gap from which Israel was never going to come back. Israel beat the Netherlands in the final game of Pool A play in Seoul, Korea, and although the outcome only mattered in terms of seeding, Gregorius grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of the 4-2 loss last Wednesday, the Netherlands' last viable threat. Later that day, Cuba plays a second game and faces off with the Netherlands at 8:00 p.m. PST.

Japan, which has a 1-0 record, plays Cuba on Tuesday.

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Making its WBC debut after winning the final tournament qualifier in September, Israel came into group play as the lowest-ranked team in the competition but upset South Korea, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands to take first place in Pool A. The team, comprised nearly entirely of American Jews, has become a fan favorite for its tenacious style of play and its mascot, the Mensch on the Bench, which has drawn a huge following in its games in Seoul and Tokyo. Blake Gailen made it 3-1 with an RBI double.

He took Marco Estrada, Sam Dyson, Carlos Carrasco and David Price deep to right field a year ago, and his fourth-inning homer against Israel also was pulled. Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius paced the Netherlands with five RBIs, including a three-run homer in the fourth, and Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons contributed three hits atop the lineup.

"We are a great hitting team and we believe in ourselves and that's what you saw tonight - 15 hits", Balentien said. The country's national baseball team managed to pull off an upset victory against Cuba, winning 4-1.

Danielle Barta, Jerusalem director of the Israel Association of Baseball, said the players have become role models.

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