Team Israel defeated Mexico 12-5 on Sunday afternoon at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Japan to advance to the quarterfinals round of the Tokyo Olympics. Danny Valencia shined for Israel with a home run, 3 runs scored and 3 driven in. Nick Rickles also had 3 RBIs for the winners, while Mitch Glasser and Zach Penprase each added a pair of RBIs.
The victory, Israel's first of the tournament, came in a win-or-go-home contest, which ultimately eliminated Mexico. Eric Holtz's charges will face Korea next at noon local time on Monday knowing a win will send them to the medal round. Korea edged Israel 6-5 in extra innings when they played in their opening game on Thursday.
Israel struck first when Rickles singles home Valencia in the top of the first inning. Ryan Lavarnway appeared to have scored on the same play, but was called out at the plate in a close play. Starting pitcher Josh Zeid was masterful through the first two innings and Israel pulled away in the third with a three-run homer by Valencia and a two-run single by Rickles.
Mexico got to Zeid in the bottom of the third as it roared back with 4 runs. Adrian Gonzales added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-5. With two on and no out, the momentum was swinging towards the Mexicans until Zack Weiss came up with a pair of clutch strikeouts to get out of the inning.
The top of the seventh was all Israel as Glasser and Penprase each had 2-run singles to highlight a 6-run surge that put the game to rest.
Jake Fishman, who came on in relief of Zeid in the third inning, was credited with the win. He allowed 1 run in 1.2 innings. Weiss struck out 3 in 2 innings of work, DJ Sharabi pitched a pair of scoreless innings and Ben Wanger threw a perfect ninth. Mexico starter Manuel Barreda was handed the loss. He allowed 6 runs – 5 earned – in 2 innings.