Led by a three-run eighth-inning rally, Team Israel opened up its World Baseball Classic run with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Nicaragua on Sunday at LoanDepot Park in Miami. After failing to convert on multiple scoring chances across the first seven innings, the breakthrough finally came in the eighth against Nicaragua’s best player, Jonathan Loáisiga.
Leading 1-0 with six outs to go, the Nicaraguans brought in Loáisiga to presumably convert the six-out save. Instead, after giving up a single to Alex Dickerson and plunking Ryan Lavarnway, Blue Jays prospect Spencer Horwitz delivered the tying blow, singling home pinch runner Jakob Goldfarb to tie things up at 1-1. Three batters later, Garrett Stubbs hit a massive two-run double off Loáisiga to put the blue-and-white crew up by 2 heading into the ninth.
HORWITZ! GOLDFARB!— Israel Baseball (@ILBaseball) March 12, 2023
We've reached peak Jewish names in sports.
AND WE'RE TIED! 1-1 pic.twitter.com/sZnbxFn6n6
"[Loáisiga] is obviously their best pitcher, one of the best pitchers in the big leagues,” said manager Ian Kinsler. "We put up some good at-bats, we were fighting, and that’s what I expect from my team, to play all 27 outs and fight to the end."
The Israelis also got a phenomenal outing out of their ace, Dean Kremer, who threw 49 pitches over 4 shutout innings along with 4 strikeouts.
"He threw the ball really well,” Kinsler said. “He kind of lost his release point there in the second, he was kind of missing up for a little while but made a great adjustment to get back in the zone. His offspeed stuff looked sharp, he seemed very much in control so it was a very good outing for him."
"Really happy with the way it went,” Kremer said. “Representing the country, and for myself as a build-up, I couldn’t have imagined it going any better."
Zack Weiss, Richard Bleier, and Robert Stock combined to throw four no-hit innings of relief while striking out seven, with Stock picking up the save on just 11 pitches.
Israel will face Puerto Rico on Monday night at 19:00 local time (01:00 Tuesday morning in Israel) with lefthander Colton Gordon scheduled to start.
By Jonah Dayton