On the second day of the Olympic Qualifier, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was the visiting team vs Israel. Since the 2017 World Baseball Classic, this was the fourth time both teams faced each other. In the first round of the 2017 WBC, Israel beat the Kingdom of the Netherlands but in the next round, the Dutch crushed Israel. Last week during the European Championship, the Netherlands clinched an easy victory over Israel. Today things would be completely different as Israel humiliated the Netherlands and won the game 8-1.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands was no match for Israel. Nothing went the Dutch’ way today. The pitching didn’t pan out. The batters couldn’t get a grip on the Israeli pitching staff.
Israel got off a quick start when Nick Rickles homered to left field to give Israel a 2-0 lead. But the Dutch bounced back in the second inning. Back-to-back singles put the Netherlands on the board and Sharlon Schoop’s 6-3 groundout moved Kalian Sams to third base. Curt Smith drew a walk to put runners on the corners but after fouling off three pitches, Dwayne Kemp swung on a high inside pitch and hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the second inning, things went wrong for the Netherlands. Three walks and two doubles drove in four runs to give Israel a solid 6-1 lead. In the first four innings, the Dutch lineup was kept in check by Jonathan Moscot who limited them to four hits and struck out two.
In the fifth inning, Jeremy Bleich took over on the mound. With the help of the aggressiveness of the Dutch lineup, he managed to trick them into all kinds of popups and flyouts. Israel on the other side threatened with the bases loaded and no outs. Tom de Blok, who replaced Diegomar Markwell in the second inning, gave up a one-out double to Robert Paller that drove in two more runs for Israel.
Israel’s manager Eric Holtz did well as he changed his pitchers often enough to avoid the Dutch batters would get used to their pitches. The fact that many Dutch batters aimed for the fences didn’t help their cause either.
Jeremy Bleich earned the win as he pitched two perfect innings in relief. Daniel Valencia and Robert Paller both went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI. Valencia scored once, Paller twice.