Israel Defeats Taiwan, Continuing Cinderella Run

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

In the last games of the first round today, the Netherlands face Israel to decide first place, while the game between Taiwan and South Korea will determine the bottom-placed finisher.

If Israel beats the Netherlands in its next game (which will air in the United States on Wednesday night), it will be the top team out of the pool.

Chinese Taipei made things a little more interesting in the sixth, picking up three runs on a two-run double by Chih-sheng Lin (one of the Taiwanese league's best players) and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Yi-Chuan Lin.

If South Korea loses to Chinese Taipei Thursday, it will finish last in Pool A and will have to go through the qualifiers to compete at the next WBC.

Zeid gave up one hit, struck out four and threw 49 pitches, one less than the limit of 50 that would have forced him to miss the rest of the first round of Pool A play.

Davis added a pair of RBIs and Corey Baker tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings before Israel held off a late rally by Taiwan.

Korea lost to the Netherlands 5-0 in the second match of the World Baseball Classic at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Tuesday, dashing its hopes of advancing further. The team will next go on to play the Netherlands, whose team, while ranked much higher than Israel, is considered weaker than both the South Korean and Taiwanese teams.

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In June 2015, Israel senior national team player Dean Kremer became the first Israeli to ever be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Left-hander Chang Won-jun, who started Monday, walked in Israel's first run in the second inning, handing out three free passes in that frame alone. This enables Israel to draw on the talent of non-native Jewish athletes who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

Bet against that at your own risk.

True, but they've already drawn some attention, including in the Mets clubhouse on Monday, when players watched Davis, the ex-Met, draw a walk that led to the winning run over South Korea. "A lot of them want to come and visit after the tournament or after they retire". "Whether or not they are All-Stars, it doesn't really matter". US Eastern time on Wednesday (12 p.m. Thursday Korea time).

Is a first-round exit for Korea all that surprising, though?

The surprise win for Israel, 38 spots below third-placed South Korea in the world rankings, boosts its chances of surviving a group that also includes Taiwan and the Netherlands. Simply put, Korea is a long way from the '09 squad that fell to Japan in the championship game. Yoelqui Cespedes, the 19-year-old brother of Yoenis, drove in a run that inning as well.

In Pool A action, Cuba starting pitcher Bladimir Banos showed outstanding form as he combined with three relievers to blank China for a 6-0 victory at the Tokyo Dome.

The focus for Israel will now turn to the Netherlands, their final game of Group A. With Israel currently sitting atop the group at 2-0, all they need to advance to the next round is a Netherlands victory over Chinese Taipei tomorrow.

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