The Israel Association of Baseball has appointed Nate Fish as the manager for the senior national team ahead of next month’s CEB European Championships in Italy. Joining Fish on the Team Israel coaching staff will be Alex Jacobs, Richard Kania and Ophir Katz.
"We are very excited to have Nate Fish leading our coaching staff," Israel Baseball president Jordy Alter said. "Nate has a long relationship with the IAB and is a perfect fit for this position. He is a great guy and has a great baseball resume, including the work he did for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Dominican Republic. We are also thrilled to have Alex Jacobs back on the staff to support Nate and are certain his expertise will help our team considerably."
Fish, 41, was the third base coach for Team Israel in recent years, including at the 2019 European Championships and the 2020 Olympic Games. Serving as Team Israel’s manager is just the latest role Fish has filled for Israel Baseball. He has also played for and captained the senior men's national team, spent three years as the IAB national director and was the first base coach for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. All of that experience has prepared Fish for his next step.
"There have been a lot of great coaches and great people on this team," Fish said. "From Pat Doyle back in the day to Brad Ausmus and Gabe Kapler in 2012 to Jerry Weinstein, Jerry Narron and Tom Gamboa in 2017, [Eric] Holtzy in the Olympics and Andrew Lorraine in all of that time. I have learned so much from them along with people from the YD Red Sox and the Dodgers organizations. I am honored to be included on that list."
Fish has extensive baseball experience outside of the Israel framework, too. He was the Savanah Bananas manager this spring and has also coached in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, at the Cape Cod League and the MLB European Elite Camp.
Jacobs, who was the bench coach for Team Israel since 2019, will also take on the role of pitching coach. A special assignment scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jacobs has interned or worked for five different Major League organizations. He was a scout for the Houston Astros when they won the World Series in 2017 and has managerial experience from the Panamanian professional league. Before moving into an on-field role with Team Israel, he was the director of player personal for Israel's WBC team from 2015-2017.
Katz is the head coach of the Israel Baseball Academy and led Israel's entry at this summer's European Under-18 Championships, where they finished seventh. A long-time player for Team Israel at all age levels, he also runs the successful Tel Aviv Reds baseball and softball club.
Kania is a former head coach of both his native Czech Republic and Team Israel. He has had a relationship with Israel Baseball since 2008 and also worked as a European scout for the Chicago Cubs.
The 2021 European Championships will take place in Turin, Italy, from September 12 through 19. Israel will begin play in Group C along with Russia, France and Great Britain.
After leading the Israel Baseball national team in the Olympics, Eric Holtz has decided to step down from his position as head coach, effective immediately. Holtz informed Jordy Alter, the president of the Israel Association of Baseball, and Team Israel general manager, Peter Kurz, of his decision earlier this week.
In four years at the helm of Israel’s senior men’s national team, Holtz guided the team from the second tier of European baseball to an Olympic berth. He led Israel through four tournaments in the summer of 2019 to advance from the European B Pool to the European Championships and then the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, where Team Israel made history by qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games. Israel placed fifth in the Olympic tournament in Tokyo earlier this month.
Israel Baseball thanks Holtz for his hard work in advancing the game during his tenure with the national team and wishes him much success in his future endeavors.
Team Israel’s Olympic dream came to an end on Tuesday at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Japan with a 7-6 loss to the Dominican Republic. Jose Bautista's single with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in pinch-runner Nefri Perez for a walk-off win. Israel finished the Olympic tournament in fifth place with a 1-4 record. The Dominican Republic will play Team USA on Wednesday to keep its gold medal hopes alive.
Israel entered the ninth inning in the drivers' seat after Danny Valencia's dramatic two-run homer in the top of the eighth gave Manager Eric Holtz's men a 6-5 lead. Zack Weiss, who struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth, ran into trouble immediately in the bottom of the ninth when he allowed a monster game-tying home run to Johan Mieses.
After Melky Cabrera singled, Perez came in to run and Roldani Baldwin laid down a sacrifice bunt, Holtz elected to intentionally walk Jeison Guzman and then called on DJ Sharabi to replace Weiss. Sharabi promptly induced a ground ball to second that could have been an inning-ending double play, however shortstop Scotty Burcham was unable to make the relay throw and Israel settled for a force out at second. Sharabi appeared to have ended the inning when he threw a 2-strike pitch against Bautista over the corner of the plate, but home plate umpire Katsumi Manabe called it a ball. Bautista then lined a single to left to secure a Dominican victory.
Luis Castillo, who pitched a scoreless ninth, was credited with the win. Julio Rodriguez stood out for the winners with 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Guzman hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh, too.
Weiss took the loss for Israel after giving up 3 runs on 3 hits in 3 innings. He struck out 5. Josh Zeid started the gam and allowed 2 unearned runs in 4 innings with 3 Ks. Jake Fishman allowed 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 walks in 1.1 innings in between them. Israel's big offensive inning came in the fourth when Mitch Glasser drove in Ty Kelly and Zack Penprase with a double to tie it and then came around on Scotty Burcham's base hit. Ian Kinsler scored Burcham with a single, too.
Team Israel defeated Mexico 12-5 on Sunday afternoon at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Japan to advance to the quarterfinals round of the Tokyo Olympics. Danny Valencia shined for Israel with a home run, 3 runs scored and 3 driven in. Nick Rickles also had 3 RBIs for the winners, while Mitch Glasser and Zach Penprase each added a pair of RBIs.
The victory, Israel's first of the tournament, came in a win-or-go-home contest, which ultimately eliminated Mexico. Eric Holtz's charges will face Korea next at noon local time on Monday knowing a win will send them to the medal round. Korea edged Israel 6-5 in extra innings when they played in their opening game on Thursday.
Israel struck first when Rickles singles home Valencia in the top of the first inning. Ryan Lavarnway appeared to have scored on the same play, but was called out at the plate in a close play. Starting pitcher Josh Zeid was masterful through the first two innings and Israel pulled away in the third with a three-run homer by Valencia and a two-run single by Rickles.
Mexico got to Zeid in the bottom of the third as it roared back with 4 runs. Adrian Gonzales added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-5. With two on and no out, the momentum was swinging towards the Mexicans until Zack Weiss came up with a pair of clutch strikeouts to get out of the inning.
The top of the seventh was all Israel as Glasser and Penprase each had 2-run singles to highlight a 6-run surge that put the game to rest.
Jake Fishman, who came on in relief of Zeid in the third inning, was credited with the win. He allowed 1 run in 1.2 innings. Weiss struck out 3 in 2 innings of work, DJ Sharabi pitched a pair of scoreless innings and Ben Wanger threw a perfect ninth. Mexico starter Manuel Barreda was handed the loss. He allowed 6 runs – 5 earned – in 2 innings.