Itay Spinoza - Photo: (Jan Beneš)

Israel opened up the 2023 European Championship in style with a 14-1 mercy rule victory over Switzerland in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sunday. The boys in blue-and-white will play Germany on Monday night, after Yom Kippur ends, in the second of their three Group D games. The two teams with the best records in the four-team group will advance to the quarterfinals.

Israel enjoyed great pitching from the duo of Itai Spinoza and Benny Feins. Spinoza allowed 1 run on 3 hits and struck out 4 in 4 innings. Feins was credited with the win after coming on in relief and throwing three 3 scoreless innings in which he did not allow a hit and struck out 4.

Israel plated runs in each of the first 5 innings to pull away. Brett Holtz opened the scoring with a 2-run double in the first inning and Assaf Lowengart broke the game open with a 3-run double in the second. Rob Paller added to the damage with a 3-run home run, the first homer for any team in the tournament, in the fourth inning. And

Benjamin Rosengard, Yoni Zeevi and Ben Wanger each had 2 hits for the winners and Rosengard, Holtz, Paller, Blake Dickman and Zeevi each reached base three times.

Jonah Schaller was the losing pitcher for Switzerland after giving up 6 runs, all earned, in the first 1.1 innings.

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