It wasn’t given the moniker “Pool of Death” by accident.
Israel won its final three games in the World Baseball Classic with just one more run after a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Nicaragua on Sunday. Israel barely managed one hit in the two games, which ended early due to the WBC mercy rule, losing 10-0 to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Israel’s bats erupted for nine hits in the championship game on Wednesday, including three for Noah Mendlinger and two for Michael Wielansky. But Venezuela defeated Israel 5-1, sweeping the dreadful Pool D, where Israel competed this week.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, three singles by Mendlinger, Wielansky, and Jakob Goldfarb gave Israel its lone run.
After the game, Israel manager Ian Kinsler commented, “It was wonderful to have a little activity out there and score one run.
It was significantly more thrilling because the boys fought tonight and put up some tough at-bats.
Israel is defeated and finishes Pool D’s WBC in fourth place with a 1-3 record, although it still automatically qualifies for the 2026 event.
Israel changed its starting lineup on Wednesday, placing Wielansky, a former Houston Astros draft pick, at shortstop instead of star Joc Pederson, who assisted in luring other major leaguers to the squad, and Goldfarb, a minor leaguer for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The final player on the Israeli roster to play in the competition was Jake Fishman, who made his major league debut for the Miami Marlins in 2022. Fishman pitched for Israel in the fourth inning.
With three hits each in the WBC, Mendlinger, and outfielder Alex Dickerson were the team’s leaders. Spencer Horwitz, Goldfarb, and Garrett Stubbs each scored one run for Israel.
A 19-year-old Orthodox talent, Jacob Steinmetz, turned in a spirited performance on Tuesday, striking out three Dominican All-Stars.
Earlier that day, the Israeli and Dominican teams had a joint ceremony to foster friendship between the two nations.
And what particular WBC moment stood out for Kinsler? Jacob Steinmetz, in two words.
Kinsler remarked, “He threw effectively for a young, inexperienced player.
“It was incredible to come into this situation and manage his emotions, control himself, and fill the strike zone.”
Before this tournament, Kinsler, who had no experience managing, claimed to have learned much about coaching.
He continued by saying that Brad Ausmus, who was both his manager and Israel’s coach while Kinsler played for the Detroit Tigers, was a valuable resource for him as he picked up skills on the job.
To support Team Israel, fans came from near and far. The four Latin countries may have outnumbered Israel’s fans by a wide margin, but Israel’s players were cheered on by many Israelis.