Israel’s national baseball team crushed South Africa on Sunday, securing a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
By United with Israel Staff and TPS
For the first time in Israel’s history, the national baseball team qualified for the Olympics.
This historic occasion also represents the first time since the 1970s that a team from the Jewish state will have an opportunity to take home an Olympic medal in a team sport.
Israel won four out of five games played at the 2020 Olympics qualifiers in Italy, beginning the tournament by defeating each of the three European Baseball Team 2019 Championship medalists: Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
Israel then lost to the Czech team, but came back to defeat South Africa and qualify for the first spot in the Olympics.
In the last game, Israel trounced South Africa in a lopsided 11-1 route, though the game remained close until the seventh inning. In the eighth inning, Israel scored six runs.
The Israeli squad includes a combination of former major league players and current minor leaguers, in addition to talent groomed right here in the Holy Land.
Retired MLB journeyman Danny Valencia dinged a three-run homer in the eighth inning that all but insured the win for Israel.
Israel honored 40-year-old Shlomo Lipetz with entering the game as the team’s closer for this historic victory.
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