In a nail biting tenth inning tie break, Team Israel pulled a series of outstanding defensive plays out of the bag to beat Germany 4-2 in the third game of the European Baseball Championships in Bonn, Germany. Both teams were vying to go 3-0. Israel came out on top and is 3-0 having also beaten Czech Republic and Sweden. Germany, nows 2-1, is considered one of the stronger teams in the tournament.
Israel started strong with a double up the center from Mitch Glasser, and an RBI double by Nick Rickles for a 1-0 start in the first inning. On the mound, Gabe Cramer held the Germans at bay two innings. But in the third inning, the hosts came out ready to rally, their first at bat of the inning produced a double through the left side by Kevin Kotowski, and an RBI single from Simon Guehring had Germany tying up the game. DJ Sharabi came in for Cramer, Germany scored one more run when Pascal Amon singled to second base for the RBI, edging Germany ahead.
Israel struggled to break through offensively , but strong pitching from Sharabi, Zack Weiss, and Jonathan DeMarte held Germany at two runs. In the top of the eighth inning, Glasser walked and Blake Gailen singled through the right side, advancing Glasser. Danny Valencia flied out to left field, and Rickles struck out swinging. With two outs, Ty Kelly got the blue and white crowd on its feet when he singled to left field, and Glasser scored to tie the game up. Germany had no answer in the bottom of the eighth and the game remained tied.
Israel couldn’t add to its score line in the top of the ninth. Germany’s Marco Cardoso tripled to right field at the start of the bottom of the inning, but DeMarte made quick work of the next three batters, and left Cardoso on base to end the ninth inning in a tie.
European Championship rules require a 10th inning tie breaker situation, where two runners are placed on first and second base at the start of the half inning. The players placed on base will be the players preceding the lead-off batter in the lineup, with the player immediately preceding the lead-off batter placed on first base and the player two places before the lead-off batter placed on second base. There are no outs, and the inning continues as usual.
With Glasser placed on second and Gailen placed on first, Valencia was hit by a pitch to load the bases loaded. Rickles singled to center field, Glasser scored, Bailen was out at home and Valencia advanced to second. Kelly, up next, was hit by pitch, Rickles and Valencia advanced. Benjamin Wanger flied out to left field, for the RBI, and a two run lead. Rob Paller flied out to right field to end the tie break inning.
Dean Pelman came in for DeMarte for the bottom of the inning. Kotowski was placed on second and Sascha Lutz on first. Guehring singled to left field with a perilously deep fly ball to left field; Lutz advanced to second and Kotowski to third, but was put out at home with a throw from Pallerin left field, to short stop Kelly to catcher Rickles, for the most dramatic out of the game. Donald Lutz grounded into double play second base, short stop and first, putting Guehring out on the play, and cementing Israel’s third victory in the tournament.
DeMarte got the win, and Pelman got the save.
Israel is now 3-0, and faces Great Britain in the next game on September 10. Israel’s last round robin game will be against Netherlands on September 11. The top five teams out of both groups at the tournament will move on to the Olympic Games qualifiers in Italy.