June 11, 2024
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Boulders to Host Team Israel Baseball Team

Four-time MLB All-Star Ian Kinsler leads team in final tune-up for Tokyo.

(Courtesy of Boulders) Olympic fever is starting to pick up as the Tokyo Games grow closer.

As part of their preparation for their initial appearance at the Games, the Team Israel Baseball Team will be playing an exhibition game at Palisades Credit Union Park in July against the Frontier League’s New York Boulders as they prepare to compete for a medal in Tokyo this summer.

Team Israel, with a number of former Major League players including four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler, will play the Boulders in an exhibition game on Monday, July 12 at 7 p.m. They will also have a free workout on Saturday, July 10 from 8-10 p.m.

In addition, Team Israel’s roster includes Boulders’ infielder Zach Penprase.

Team Israel won the round-robin tournament featuring Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic, the top 5 teams from the 2019 European Championship, in Italy, Sept. 18-22, 2019. As the winner of that tournament, it qualified to be one of the six national teams that will compete in Tokyo.

Japan automatically qualified as the host country while Mexico qualified as the best team in the Premier 12 tournament from the Americas. South Korea qualified as the best team in the Premier 12 from Asia (other than already-qualified Japan).

Team USA won the Americas qualifier in Florida earlier this month, besting the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia and landing a spot in the Tokyo Games.

One other spot remains to be filled in the Olympic field.

Kinsler, 38, broke into the major leagues with the Texas Rangers in 2006 and also played with the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres in a career that spanned 14 years. He retired after the 2019 season with the Padres. Kinsler was an All-Star in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Kinsler won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2018 and the World Baseball Classic with Team USA in 2017 and is going for the trifecta with Team Israel in the Olympics.

Team Israel’s roster also includes infielders Ty Kelly and Danny Valencia, as well as catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

Kelly, 31, saw time with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies from 2016-18, while Valencia, 34, logged time with six teams from 2010-18. Lavarnway, 33 and a member of the Cleveland Indians, has seen time with seven other MLB teams in a career that began in 2011.

Tickets for the exhibition games are subject to New York State Department of Health guidelines. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Israel Baseball Association to help offset their expenses and help grow the sport of baseball in Israel.

Team Israel will possess a local flavor with Westchester County resident Eric Holtz as the team’s manager. Additionally, Yorktown Heights native Jonathan DeMarte, 27 and a pitcher in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, is expected to represent Israel.

To be eligible to represent a country at the Olympic Games, a person must hold citizenship in that land.

After their game in Rockland, Team Israel will continue their tour of the Northeast United States before heading to Tokyo on July 21.

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