02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019


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II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

2019: Baseball Olympic Qualifiers - Israel's historic first time in Olympic baseball tournament

2019: Baseball Olympic Qualifiers - Israel's historic first time in Olympic baseball tournament
The world No.19 baseball programme shocked the powers of Europe and made history, earning a well deserved spot at the 2020 Olympics.

Israel shocked the world of baseball. At least, they shocked the powers of Europe. Italy and the Netherlands approached the Europe-Africa Olympic Qualifier as the favourites but were both outscored by Israel: 8-1 and 8-2 during the tournament played in Parma and Bologna, Italy.

Israel, the world No. 19 baseball programme as per the WBSC World Rankings, had to follow a long path to earn a historic Olympic spot. They emerged from Pool B at the European Championship, defeating Lithuania in a three-game series, to advance to the European Championship. Israel then qualified for the semi-finals and earned the right to advance to the Qualifier.

“What we did was huge,” commented Danny Valencia, Israel's marquee player. “It shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

“I just try to do my part,” added Valencia, who played 864 games for six different organizations at Major League Baseball level in the United States. “I couldn’t hope to be around a better group of guys. We worked really hard. The team preparation required a lot of work and time. We came here to perform a task and we did it.”

2019 Series: Year in Review
Softball Olympic Qualifiers - Mexico in Olympics for first time as softball field complete
Baseball Olympic Qualifiers - Israel's historic first time in Olympic baseball tournament
Development - Africa Dev Programme & Women’s Baseball lead impressive year of growth
Premier12 - The “biggest int’l baseball event in recent history”
WBSC - Huge year sets up foundation for bright future
Baseball5 - Continues to spread like "wildfire"
President Fraccari: “2019 - The biggest year in int’l baseball, softball history”
Men’s Softball World Championship - Argentina clinch historic title as Europe hosts for first time
Chinese Taipei wins U-12, U-18 Baseball World Cups, Asian Championship, Fed of the Year

Valencia commented on a final note about criticism of the European press on the fact the members of the team were all born and developed as players in the US: “We are all Israeli citizens.”

Israel suffered just one loss during the tournament, against the Czech Republic, and finished tied with the Netherlands. Israel prevailed thanks to the win in the head to head game against the Dutch.

Israel is one of four teams to have qualified for the baseball tournament for the 2020 Olympics. The six-team tournament in Tokyo will also feature the hosts Japan, while Korea and Mexico qualified through the WBSC Premier12.

The eight-team Americas Olympic Qualifier, scheduled from 22 to 26 March in Arizona, USA, will promote one more National Team. The second and third-place finishers will join the Netherlands, China, Chinese Taipei and Australia in the six-team Final Qualifier, scheduled for 1-5 April 2020 in Taichung, Chinese Taipei.

Israel International Baseball History

While Israel has never played in a baseball World Cup they have appeared in the World Baseball Classic twice, being eliminated by Spain during qualifiers in 2013 and defeating Great Britain and Brazil and making it to the 16-team main tournament in 2017. During 2017 group play they surprisingly defeated Korea, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei and made it to the second round. They beat Cuba, but were eliminated after losing against the Netherlands and Japan. Since 2013, the World Baseball Classic champion is recognized by WBSC as the Baseball World Champion.

Olympic Baseball History

Baseball appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1956, 1964, 1984, 1988 Summer Olympics before becoming a medal sport in Barcelona in 1992, where Cuba won the first of its three titles. The last Olympic baseball tournament was played in 2008 in Beijing and saw Korea beat Cuba in the final.

1992: 1) Cuba 2) Chinese Taipei 3) Japan 4) USA - Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic-Italy-Spain
1996: 1) Cuba 2) Japan 3) USA 4)Nicaragua - Netherlands-Italy-Australia-Korea
2000: 1) USA 2) Cuba 3) Korea 4)Japan - Netherlands-Italy-Australia-South Africa
2004: 1) Cuba 2) Australia 3) Japan 4) Canada - Chinese Taipei-Netherlands-Greece-Italy
2008: 1) Korea 2) Cuba 3) USA 4) Japan - Chinese Taipei-Canada-Netherlands-China