Israel falls to Korea in Olympics opener
Team Israel suffered a heart-breaking 6-5 loss in 10 innings to South Korea in the teams' opening game at the 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Stadium in Japan on Thursday. Pinch-runner Kunwoo Park scored the winning run when Israel reliever Jeremy Bleich's 2-out pitch to Euiji Yang grazed the Korean catcher with bases loaded.
Manager Eric Holtz's men struck first on a 2-run home run by Ian Kinsler in the third inning and – after Korea tied it with a 2-run homer off Jake Fishman in the fourth – Ryan Lavarnway blasted a 2-run shot in the sixth to make it 4-2. Zack Weiss gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh as Korea assumed control, however Lavarnway went deep for a second time to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the ninth and Josh Zeid shot down Korea in the bottom half of the inning to force extra innings.
Under international rules, both teams start all extra innings with runners on first and second. Israel failed to capitalize as Mitch Glasser, Scott Burcham and Kinsler struck out in order. Jaegyun Hwang bunted the runners over for Korea in the bottom of the 10th before Ty Kelly made a great running catch behind third. Bleich then loaded the bases when he hit Kyoungmin Hur and his final pitch that glanced off Yang's shirt sent the winning run home.
Korea out-hit Israel 11-7, led by shortstop Ji Hwan Oh, who had 3 hits and 3 RBIs. Korea's starting pitcher Taein Won allowed 2 runs and struck out 5 in 3 innings. Seunghwan Oh, who gave up Lavarnway's second homer, was credited with the win. He allowed 1 run and struck out 5 in two innings.
Tragedy hit Israel early when starting pitcher Jon Moscot left the game with an injury after only 9 pitches thrown. Fishman allowed 2 earned runs in 3.2 innings and Weiss allowed 3 runs in 2 innings. Zeid threw 2.1 scoreless innings and Alex Katz did not allow a hit or a run in 1 inning of work.