18/09/2019 - 22/09/2019

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Baseball Europe Africa Qualifier - Official Payoff

Rickles homer sets tone, Israel outscores Netherlands

19/09/2019

Israel outscored the defending European Champions The Netherlands, 8-1, and suddenly became the team to beat in the Baseball Europe Africa Qualifier. A home run by Nick Rickels in the bottom of the first set the tone for Israel.

Rickles headed to the box with DH Daniel Valencia at first and two outs. He went down 1-2 in the count against Dutch starter Diego Markwell, then homered on the fourth pitch by the lefthander.

“I talked a lot with Danny Valencia before the game,” commented Rickles. “He said that Markwell was going to come after us high in the zone and that we should not chase off-speed stuff. I had chased one pitch, so I turned to Danny and he helped me stay back. On the next pitch, I homered. It’s really great to have a guy with so much MLB experience with us.”

Israel manager Eric Holtz said: “The early lead was huge, it took away pressure from out pitchers. I said it before, this team has the right approach at-bat. I think we showed it tonight.”

The Netherlands cut the lead to 1 in the top of the second, thanks to back to back doubles by catcher Hendrick Clementina and right fielder Kalian Sams off former Major Leaguer Jon Moscot.

In the bottom half of the frame, Israel broke the score open when second baseman Mitch Glasser doubled with the bases loaded and extended the lead to 5-1.

The Dutch sent Tom De Blok to the mound, but Daniela Valencia doubled to add one run. Israel would score two more runs, despite losing a couple of runners at home plate.

Moscot left after four innings, but the bullpen gave no chance to The Netherlands. Jeremy Bleich posted two perfect innings, David Sharabi worked two more allowing only one hit and Jonathan De Marte pitched the ninth.

“We are playing one game at a time. The game with Italy is going to be very important,” concluded Eric Holtz.

Nick Rickles added: “Italy is playing at home and this is a huge advantage, still I think we have a chance. Our pitchers have been outstanding.”

How do you feel, when you hear comments about the fact that most of the players on the team developed in the USA? “Well, we are all Israeli citizens. This team is made of citizens, just like any other National Team. We don’t really discuss that amongst us.”