Steinmetz shines bright for Israel in tough Dominican Republic defeat

Mar 15, 2023 | Jews in Sports

By: Elie Gelman

Israel suffered another defeat in the World Baseball Classic, losing to the Dominican Republic 10-0 as once again the blue-and-white were victims of the WBC’s ten-run mercy rule for the second game in a row. Israel has one more game of pool play remaining when they take on Venezuela on Wednesday afternoon (12pm EDT/6pm Israel).

However, despite yet another rough day at the office, starting pitcher Jacob Steinmetz provided the highlights of the night. The 19-year old, who is the first Jewish Orthodox player to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks brought his “A” game to the mound.

“You saw the talent that he has tonight,” Israel manager Ian Kinsler said following the game. “This is a good experience for him. It’s the loudest environment he’s ever going to pitch in. He’s at a young age now; he’s still learning, so that really is going to help him moving forward, but stuff-wise, he really showed up. He was able to calm himself down, keep his composure and throw the ball well against an all-star lineup. I think it was a big confidence builder for him.”

The Dominican Republic is a team filled with top-level MLB talent, including Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Jeremy Peña, and Juan Soto. “I have played against a lot of those players in the past and with some of them,” Kinser noted. “This tournament is special for the WBC. When these guys get together with their country, it seems like they go to another level. They played a great game tonight and were a tough team to beat.”

Jacob Steinmetz – Photo Credit: Dan Passner

Steinmetz pitched an inning and two-thirds and struck out Manny Machado, the San Diego Padres superstar who finished second in this past season’s National League MVP voting, Jeremy Peña, and Gary Sanchez.

While Steinmetz did get the loss, he only allowed two hits and one run, “For me, I was just trying to go out there and compete with my best stuff, and I think I did that.”

This coming season, Steinmetz will pitch in the Diamondbacks minor league system and has been part of their spring training camp. “Definitely helps a lot knowing that my stuff could play at the highest level,” said Steinmetz. “You’re not going to face much tougher hitters than that.”

Israel has one more game in pool play when they take on Venezuela Wednesday afternoon and regardless of the result they have already qualified for the 2026 WBC thanks to the victory over Nicaragua. Venezuela is atop pool D with a record of 3-0 and is led by Houston Astros World Series Champion Jose Altuve and Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.
Over the past two games, Israel has only had one base runner and has tallied zero runs. If Israel wants to end their tournament run on a high note, they must find the offense they saw in game one’s comeback win.

Photo Credit: Dan Passner

“We are starting Robert Stock; that’s part of the plan,” said Kinsler. “The other part of the plan is to get runners on base. The last two games, we have struggled offensively to get anything going, so that is something we have to do if we are going to win the ball game.”

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