Former Athletics help Team Israel to two wins in 2017 WBC

Ike Davis. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Ike Davis. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 World Baseball Classic has just begun and already Team Israel is off to quite a start thanks to some former A’s.

Israel is 2-0 in Pool A thus far having upset both South Korea and Chinese Taipei and some former Oakland Athletics have come up big for the team.

Three former Oakland Athletics and one former Athletics’ prospect are members of Team Israel: Ike Davis, Nate Freiman, Sam Fuld and Nick Rickles have all contributed to Israel’s already surprising run.

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This is the first time that Israel has made the World Baseball Classic, having to defeat Great Britain, Pakistan and Brazil in the September qualifier.

Already a surprise qualifier, a couple former A’s helped Team Israel beat the team hosting Pool A, South Korea, in yet another shocking upset, winning 2-1 in ten innings.

Ike Davis began the winning rally in the top of the tenth inning with a one-out walk. Davis advanced to third on a single by Ryan Lavarnway.

The winning run was eventually scored by pinch runner Mike Myers on an infield hit by Scott Burcham.

Davis ended the night 1-1 with a walk while other former A’s Fuld and Freiman went 2-6 and 0-4 with walk and a run scored, respectively.

Rickles did not get into the first game but came through for Team Israel, knocking in their 12th run in their second game against Chinese Taipei.

Team Israel defeated Chinese Taipei by the score of 15-7 in game two of this year’s World Baseball Classic and once again the former Oakland Athletics had a big part in their success.

As noted, former A’s prospect Rickles got am RBI on a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.

Sam Fuld went 1-6 with a run scored. Ike Davis was 2-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Nate Freiman scored Israel’s 14th and 15th runs of the game with a two-run blast in the top of the ninth inning. Overall he was 3-6 with a walk, 3 runs scored and four RBI.

Freiman, a Rule 5 draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2012 was selected off waivers by the A’s in March 2013. He spent the 2013 season with the A’s before being released.

Oakland Athletics
Sep 7, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics infielder Nate Freiman (35) reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Davis, who  played for the Athletics in 2014 and 2015 and was granted free agency in December 2015.

Fuld has played two stints in Oakland. He was signed as a free agent by the A’s in 2014 and spent parts of that season with the A’s, being selected off waivers by the Minnesota Twins after just seven games with the A’s.

Later in the season Fuld was traded back to Oakland for pitcher Tommy Milone.

He played in 120 games for the A’s in 2015 before being granted free agency.

Rickles was just a prospect for Oakland, never playing on the big league club.

The first baseman and catcher was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round of the 2011 draft. He was later released by the A’s after the 2015 season and signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals.

Still, all four have looked very good thus far in the 2017 WBC. Team Israel will have a challenge in  their next game, likely facing the team from the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a team filled with Major League Baseball talent.

Will the former A’s help keep Israel’s unlikely run going? We’ll have to wait to find out.

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