Israel made history by qualifying its first team in baseball by winning the Europe/Africa Baseball Olympic Qualifier as the sport makes its return to the Olympics. Only the winner of the round robin tournament qualified to the games. The Europe/Africa Baseball Olympic Qualifier was held in Bologna and Parma, Italy from September 18th to September 22nd 2019.
Despite losing to both the Netherlands and Italy, the two traditional powerhouses of the region a week ago at the 2019 European Baseball Championships, Israel was able to regroup themselves and defeat both nations 8-1 and 8-2 respectively. However, a 7-4 loss to the Czech Republic on the penultimate day meant Israel had to defeat South Africa to guarantee its spot to the Olympics. On the final day, Israel successfully defeated South Africa 11-1 in only 8 innings to clinch their berth to the Olympics. The Netherlands finished second thanks to an 8-3 victory over Italy while the Czech Republic finished third by defeating Spain 7-3 on the final day.
This will be Israel’s first appearance in a traditional team sport since 1976 where they competed in football. By finishing second, the Netherlands will have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics; at the final qualifying tournament to be held in 2020.