Israel made history on Friday by seeing off host Italy 11-5 in the semifinals of the CEB European Baseball Championships in Avigliana, Italy. The boys in blue and white will take on defending champion Netherlands in the gold-medal game in Turin on Sunday.

Italy took control of the game early on home runs by Dario Pizzano, Vito Friscia and Federico Celli to take a 4-1 lead in the second inning. But starting pitcher Shlomo Lipetz settled down after that and the Israeli bate heated up. Assaf Lowengart's 2-run double tied the game in the bottom of the second and Tal Erel, Mitch Glasser and Ben Wanger each had RBI hits as Israel surged ahead 7-4 in the third inning. Erel came home on a wild pitch in the fifth and Glasser slugged a bases-loaded double in the sixth for a commanding 7-run lead, from which Italy never recovered.

Lipetz was the winning pitcher after allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk in 6 innings. Bubby Rossman threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning and got the first out of the eighth before starting shortstop Ty Kelly assumed the mound. He promptly induced an inning-ending double play and – despite allowing a run to score in the ninth – finished the game by snaring a line drive up the middle to send Israel to the championship game.

All nine Israel started had at least 1 hit. Glasser was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI. Erel also had 2 hits and scored 3 times and Kelly reached base 4 times – 3 via walks – and scored twice. Walks played a key role in the final outcome as the Italian pitchers issued 13 bases on balls compared to just 1 by Israel.

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