Israel beat Nicaragua in the first game of the 2023 edition of the World Baseball Classic.
By United with Israel
Team Israel had a rousing start to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) over the weekend.
On Sunday, the team rallied with a two-run double in the eighth, capping off a three-run inning.
The rally buried Nicaragua, with Garrett Stubbs’ two-bagger helping move runs across the plate with the bases loaded.
The victory places Israel in a tie for first place with two baseball powerhouses in Group D: Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Israel made the comeback after Nicaragua took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. The loss gives Nicaragua an 0-2 record in the 2023 WBC.
Pool D is “easily the toughest of the four pools” in the WBC, reported The Algemeiner before the tournament started.
“Israel has assembled a fantastic roster and is managed by Ian Kinsler, who played for Israel at the 2020 Olympics,” added The Algemeiner.
Team Israel has a number of current and former Jewish major leaguers on its roster, including Jake Bird and Richard Bleier.
Major League Baseball has been home to a number of Jewish standouts over the decades, including Sandy Koufax of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who was hailed as an icon of faith.
In 1965, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the World Series in order to observe Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On this somber day, Jews fast, pray, and refrain from work, to rectify the mistakes they have made during the preceding year and to commit to improving their behavior and conduct in the coming year.
Koufax grabbed headlines by sitting out that game to honor his Jewish faith. He also went on to pitch three outstanding games in the Series, including a complete-game shutout in Game 5 and a three-hit shutout in Game 7.
The Dodgers went on to win the 1965 World Series, and Koufax earned a spot in the hearts and minds of American sports fans.
“Koufax was a two-time World Series MVP with the Dodgers. The lefty won three Cy Young Awards, threw four no-hitters, and was 165-87 in a 12-year career with Brooklyn and Los Angeles,” reported the Associate Press.
“I hope a kid sees the statue and asked his mom or dad about Sandy Koufax and I hope that they tell him he was a great pitcher. But more than that he was a great man who represented the Dodgers with humility, kindness, passion and class,” said Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw at the unveiling ceremony of a statue of Koufax in June 2022.
“And for every rookie who sees it for the first time and asks if he was any good. I hope the veterans tell him simply that he was the best ever do it,” Kershaw added.
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