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Team Israel Moves to Round 2 in World Baseball Classic

20 March 2017

After losing to Japan in its opening game, Cuba's bats have come alive.

Now Team Israel faces either Japan, or the victor of the game between Cuba and Australia, on Thursday.

With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh inning, Nippon Ham Fighters slugger Nakata electrified the crowd by firing a solo shot into the left stands at Tokyo Dome, off the first pitch by Australia's third pitcher Matt Williams.

Taiwan previously failed to advance to the final eight in the first and second editions of the championship, held in 2006 and 2009. But Japan got even in the fifth on a Nobuhiro Matsuda sacrifice fly that sent Hayato Sakamoto home from third.

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"We're not ruled by other people's expectations", Weinstein said. "We're not in the second round yet".

After going up 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Israel was able to fend off the Dutch with stellar pitching, giving up only one run, five hits and five walks over the course of nine innings.

Netherlands's Jurickson Profar hits a two-run home against South Korea.

The Koreans added another two runs in the fourth before Lin Che-hsuan (林哲瑄) answered with a two-run homer, again making it a three-point ball game.

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Taiwan scored four runs in the ninth, but the game was already out of reach by then.

On Friday, Cuba meets Australia while Japan plays China.

Joining them into the second round were Israel, whose earlier wins over South Korea and Taiwan at Gocheok Sky Dome gave them a 2-0 record. With two wins from two games, the Netherlands and Israel secured their place in the next round.

Two of four teams will advance from each of the first-round pools played in Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and Guadalajara, Mexico, into second-round play at Tokyo and San Diego that will determine the four semi-finalists who play March 20-21 in Los Angeles.

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Team Israel Moves to Round 2 in World Baseball Classic