Rockland County, NY (Jan. 23, 2020) – The New York Boulders announced today the Team Israel Olympic Baseball team will play two exhibition games at Palisades Credit Union Park this July as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.
On July 13, the Israeli team will face off with the host Boulders at 7 p.m. The following morning at 11 a.m., the Israeli squad will face the NYPD’S Finest Baseball Team.
Because Team Israel finished in the top five in the 2019 European Baseball Championship, it earned the right to participate in the 2020 Olympics qualifiers. That round robin tournament took place 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 at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. As host country, Japan automatically qualified.
In addition, two teams qualified through the 2019 WBSC Premier12 tournament in November 2019. Mexico qualified as the best team from the Americas, and South Korea qualified as the best team from Asia or Oceania (other than already-qualified Japan).
Another team from the Americas will qualify through the Americas Qualifying Event March 22–26, 2020, in Arizona. The last spot will be awarded to the winner of the Final Qualifying Tournament April 1–5, 2020, in Taipei City.
Tickets for the exhibition games will go on sale on Monday, March 2. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Israel Baseball Association to help offset their Olympic expenses and help grow the sport of baseball in Israel.
“We thank Shawn Reilly and the New York Boulders for hosting Team Israel as we begin our preparations for the Tokyo Olympics,” Israeli Association of Baseball president and general manager Peter Kurz said. “In light of the recent anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and especially in Rockland County, we are proud to be there, wearing the blue and white uniforms with Israel across our chests and with the Magen David proudly displayed.” He added, “We hope that the neighboring Jewish community will come out in mass to proudly show that Am Yisrael Chai.”
Boulders’ team president Shawn Reilly said, “We are pleased to host Team Israel as the Olympics are one of the world’s great sporting events and Team Israel is sure to be one the great storylines of Tokyo. Sports are great way to unify communities and by hosting Team Israel we hope that we are can contribute to the healing of our community while enjoying some great baseball.”
This year’s Team Israel team will possess a local flavor with Westchester County resident Eric Holtz as the teams’ manager. Additionally, Yorktown Heights native Jonathan deMarte, 26, is also expected to represent Israel.
Team Israel also lists a trio of former MLB players on this year’s roster – catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielders Ty Kelly and Danny Valencia.
A catcher, Lavarnway, 32, played for six major league teams over a career that spanned 2011-19. Kelly, 31, saw time with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies between 2016-18, while Valencia, 35, logged time with six teams from 2010-18.
To be eligible to represent a country at the Olympic Games, a person must hold citizenship in that land.
"It is very exciting to have the Israeli National Team playing in Palisades Credit Union Park,” said Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht. "They are the surprise team of the Olympics and we are honored that this Miracle Team will play here in our beautiful world class facility, Palisades Credit Union Park, just two weeks before competing in the Olympic Games."
After their games in Rockland, Team Israel will continue their pre-Olympic tour with expected stops in Pawtucket, RI, as well as Boston, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
About the New York Boulders and Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC
The New York Boulders are entering their 10th season of Professional Baseball as part of the newly-formed Frontier League and are in pursuit of a post-season appearance for the seventh straight year. Founded as the Rockland Boulders in 2011, the franchise rebranded as the New York Boulders in advance of the 2020 season. In 2014, the Boulders won the Can-Am League Championship and hosted the Frontier vs. Can- Am All-Star Game in 2019. Proud to be part of the rich history of professional baseball in the New York City region, during the 2017 season the team welcomed its 1,000,000th fan to Palisades Credit Union Park located in Rockland County, NY. In 2012 and 2014, Rockland was named the Can-Am’s “Organization of the Year.” The Boulders are owned and operated by Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC (B9B), a sports and entertainment company comprised of former executives from all levels of major and minor league sports. B9B is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, affordable family entertainment experiences for the New York Metropolitan area, Lower Hudson Valley and northeast New Jersey. Slide to www.nyboulders.com for more information.