Mensch on a Bench roots Team Israel to World Baseball Classic win

Posted March 09, 2017

US Eastern time on Wednesday (12 p.m. Thursday Korea time).

Two of four teams advance from first-round pools in Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and Guadalajara, Mexico, into second-round play in Tokyo and San Diego that will determine the four semifinalists who play on March 20-21 in Los Angeles. The top-two teams from each group are then divided into two pools where they play in a modified double-elimination tournament.

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Former Major Leaguer Jair Jurrjens took the mound for the Netherlands while Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles hurler Chia-Hao Sung received the start for Chinese Taipei.

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South Korea, hosting the WBC for the first time, was trying to erase the disappointing memories of a first round exit at the 2013 competition, which started with a 5-0 loss to the Netherlands. Wladimir Balentien, the breaker of Sadaharu Oh's Nippon Professional Baseball single-season home run record in 2013, will roam the outfield. He was drafted by St. Louis in 2011, in the 49th round.

The Netherlands played at a high level all day, looking like a team that can seriously challenge for the title.

Kang Jung-ho, third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was cut following his DUI arrest in December. And they were in the same group as the Netherlands and South Korea. For a month, the outfielder could do no wrong, stealing bases at a prodigious clip, making highlight reel catches every night, and becoming the most exciting player in the game.

Korea put two runners on board in the bottom of the fifth when Kyoung-Min Hur walked and Jaeho Kim was hit by a pitch.

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As noted, former A's prospect Rickles got am RBI on a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. In a thrilling extra inning affair, Israel pulled off the upset over South Korea winning 2-1.

Earlier Tuesday, Israel defeated Chinese Taipei 15-7 for its second consecutive win, taking another step toward a spot in the next stage.

Pitching has been mediocre at best. South Korea's starting pitcher, Won-Jun Chang, didn't pitch particularly well, but his breaking ball was very hard to pick up for Israel batters, however he was wild and did walk three in the four innings he pitched.

Against the Netherlands, right-hander Woo Kyu-min found himself down 2-0 after just seven pitches.

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The team responded well, especially Jurickson Profar, who adapted well to playing CF on defense and mashed a two-run homer on offense to kick off the game for the Dutch. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway added a two-run home run in the third inning to make the score 6-0. As the classic progresses forward, we will continue to see other bright spots on every team which will prove that there still is plenty of talent around the globe waiting to come over to the Major League Baseball.