Israel to Host Baseball’s Under 21 European Championship
The European Baseball Federation (CEB) has announced that the Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) will host the 2016 European Championship Under 21 tournament in Israel. The tournament will be held from August 1 to 6 at the Baptist Village in Petah Tikva. European teams have until January 1 to apply to play for the tournament, which is an open tournament with no qualifier required.
Israel will be represented for the most part by the IAB Academy Team (pictured right), which has played and practiced together for two years, coached by Nate Fish, Israel’s National Team Head coach, and longtime Israel national team coach David Schenker.
This is the first European tournament awarded to Israel since the European Championship in 2011, and is a sign of Israel’s strong standing in European baseball. Last year CEB decided not to award a tournament to Israel due to the security situation after last summer’s Gaza war. This year Israel once again campaigned to have this tournament here next year, and this determination was rewarded.
“We are all very excited to be hosting this tournament in Israel,” says Peter Kurz, First Vice President of CEB and the President of the IAB. “The top teams in Europe will play in Israel, and Israel will have a very strong squad. I hope that all fans of Israel baseball will attend and the game will continue to grow in this country, as it has over the last three years.”
Looking further ahead to the future, Kurz say, “we hope that in 2017 we can host more European tournaments in the new facility we will be building in Bet Shemesh, with the help of the municipality, JNF Project Baseball and the Copeland family.”
With the announcement that Israel will host this tournament, 2016 has quickly turned into a busy year for Israel baseball. The month after the European Championship takes place in Israel, Team Israel will be playing in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier to be held in Brooklyn, NY from September 22 to 25, and seeking to secure a place in the 2017 WBC tournament.