Team Israel’s time in the 2023 World Baseball Classic came to an end on Wednesday with a 5-1 loss to Venezuela at LoanDepot Park in Miami. Jesús Luzardo shut the door for the Venezuelans, throwing 4 shutout frames while striking out 5. A pair of solo homers by Eduardo Escobar and Eugenio Suárez headlined the Venezuela offense, with Suárez driving in three total runs on the day.
"We competed, we had a good time, that first game was obviously a good way to start the tournament," said manager Ian Kinsler. “From there it was pretty tough for us, but we played hard as long as we could."
The Israelis tacked on a run in the seventh off a two-out RBI single by Jakob Goldfarb to cut the lead to 4, the first run they scored since Sunday’s opening game against Nicaragua. After being held to just one hit over their last two games, six different hitters in the Israeli lineup recorded a hit, with Noah Mendlinger leading the way with three knocks on the day.
"It was nice to have a little action out there, score a run, get a guy across the plate," Kinsler said. "The guys really battled today and put up some tough at-bats."
Kinsler, who wrapped up his managerial debut, also mentioned 19-year-old Jacob Steinmetz’s outing on Tuesday night as a personal highlight of the tournament.
"He threw the ball well,” Kinsler said. “He threw well for a young player, an inexperienced player, to come in this environment and control his emotions, control himself and fill up the strike zone was pretty impressive."
Israel ultimately finished fourth out of the five-team pool with a 1-3 record, which saw a comeback win over Nicaragua and losses to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in addition to today’s defeat. The fact that Israel did not finish last in their pool, however, ensures that the blue-and-white squad will have a spot in the next WBC tournament, slated for 2026.
By Jonah Dayton