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Israel advances to World Baseball Classic finals for the first time

Five pitchers combined on a four-hitter and Israel slammed three home runs in a 9-1 victory over Great Britain in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn, earning its first bid to the international tournament.

Israel took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Sunday’s game at MUA Park on Coney Island, with starter Jason Marquis throwing four innings and striking out five and winning pitcher Josh Zeid the next three with three strikeouts.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway had two hits, including a solo homer in a four-run fifth inning, and drove in three runs.

Israel advances to the World Baseball Classic, a quadrennial event modeled after soccer’s World Cup, and will play March 7-10 in South Korea. The other teams in their pool are Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Netherlands.

In 2012, Israel fell a game short of qualifying for the tournament.

Against Great Britain, outfielder Blake Gailen snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth with a two-run homer.

Shortstop Scott Burcham contributed three of Israel’s 11 hits and scored twice. Outfielder Zach Borenstein added two hits, including a run-scoring triple, and third baseman Cody Decker belted a solo homer.

It was the second victory for Israel in the qualifying tournament over Great Britain, which defeated Brazil on Saturday to reach the title game. Israel edged Brazil, 1-0, on Friday to advance to the final.