Published: Thu, March 09, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Korea in Baseball Opener

Korea in Baseball Opener

What Pool A lacked in suspense, it made up for in stealth and surprise. Should Japan and Cuba both advance, they'll find themselves in a second-round pool with Israel and the Netherlands-an unusual foursome, for sure, but one that should offer plenty of intrigue and a chance for upsets.

Israel's national baseball team clinched a spot in the second round of the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday, after The Netherlands defeated Taiwan 6-5.

Things got interesting in Pool A on opening night, when starter Jason Marquis threw three shutout innings and Israel stopped host South Korea in extra innings in the opening game of the 16-team tournament Monday.

The Dutch have done this before. Like Israel, it's a country with no history in the sport that came out of nowhere to provide a fortnight of Cinderella dreams. All a player has to do is provide documentary evidence that he would be granted citizenship or a passport by that country if he applied for one.

Scott Burcham's two-out infield single in the top of the 10th inning brought home Mike Meyers from third with the winning run as Team Israel began its first appearance in the World Baseball Classic with a 2-1 victory over South Korea in Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome early Monday, March 6.

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The result eliminated Taiwan and South Korea, with the two East Asian representatives in Pool A eliminated after two losses each, while "Dutch Oranje" and Israel advance to next round, both with two wins in two games. The Dominican Republic, with its flawless 8-0 record, won the WBC in 2013. Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop, Didi Gregorius, and Jurickson Profar are the big Major Leaguers. Four shortstops and a second baseman.

One day after cruising to an easy win over South Korea, the Netherlands had their hands full against Chinese Taipei Wednesday morning.

"He's a trooper", Meulens said. Some believe the policy is ludicrous because the guys barred from the combine are allowed to be scouted on pro day at their school and will eventually be allowed to play in the NFL. Fans are not just rooting for their team, but for their country. Yet, Chinese Taipei put their opponent on the edge of their seat by scoring four runs in the final frame of the game. Balentien, a one-time power prospect in the Seattle organization, has found his niche with the Yakut Swallows of the Japan Central League. He spent the 2013 season with the A's before being released. Here in the United States, we treat it differently in that we play music and various noises before the game, between innings, and after the game, but hardly any noise is ever made when a player steps up to take an at bat or while they are completing an at bat.

Who cares if the entire starting lineup was born in the Caribbean? Major League veteran Chien-Ming Wang is in the designated pitcher pool for the second round. Of the 36 players on their active roster and in their designated pitcher pool, 32 attended college.

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