(March 16, 2023 / JNS) Despite an extreme lack of hitting the past couple of days, Team Israel forwent batting practice on Wednesday, ahead of its game against Venezuela. The players looked sufficiently rested after playing three games in three days—two of them shortened “massacres” due to the so-called mercy rule.
The day with no batting practice helped Israel outhit and outscore its prior two games but its nine hits came up one short—and more important, four runs short—of Venezuela, which won 5-1. The daytime crowd in Miami was small at 18,277.
Ian Kinsler, Team Israel’s manager, reflected after the loss on the team’s experience as it exited the World Baseball Classic.
“We competed. We had a good time,” Kinsler, a four-time All-Star second baseman, two-time Gold Glove winner, and a member of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, said. “That first game was obviously a good way to start the tournament. Then it was pretty tough for us, but we played hard as long as we could.”
Whether Kinsler’s future includes another World Baseball Classic with Israel remains to be seen. His family and his day job—working with the Texas Rangers—are his priorities. “We’ll see where that leads,” he said.
Compared to the previous games, Wednesday’s ended unceremoniously after nine innings. Israel sent up six pitchers, with Robert Stock, who gave up three runs on three hits (and a wild pitch) in the first, getting the loss.
Venezuela, which came from behind to beat Nicaragua 4-1 on Tuesday, has a lineup with some big league standouts: second baseman José Altuve (Houston Astros), outfielder Ronald Acuña (Atlanta Braves) and pitcher Edwin Escobar (Yokohama DeNA BayStars). Yet Stock settled down, retiring all three in order in the second and giving up a hit in the third.
The mini, two-out rally Israel strung together in the second, on back-to-back singles by left fielder Alex Dickerson and third baseman Danny Valencia, was more hits than it recorded in its 15 prior innings.
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