Before the start of the baseball game on a muggy Sunday afternoon, a chant of “One, two, three, ’Dice” was heard when the Pittsburgh Allderdice baseball team ran onto the field.
But one of the Allderdice players shouted “Yisrael!” instead, as his team ran onto the field.
That’s because his team was getting ready to play the Israeli National High School baseball team in an exhibition game at the Allderdice field in Squirrel Hill.
The Israeli National team is in Pittsburgh this week for a tournament in Freeport. They will travel to Georgetown, Del., to play in another tournament next week.
The Israeli team, who all received green and white Allderdice T-shirts as a gift from the Allderdice team, won 15-9, behind a four run second inning and a six run fifth inning.
“I was very impressed with how they performed; they played good fundamental baseball,” said Aryeh Klein, head coach of the Israeli team. “[Allderdice is] a very good hitting team and we kept them for the most part in the park, so I was very happy with that.”
Sam Cogan, a 15-year-old member of the Israeli team who played shortstop the entire game, was equally impressed by his team and encouraged about how they performed.
“We did very well today; I think that if we keep it up we can win a lot of games in the tournament,” Cogan said.
Cogan helped his team by getting on base four times. He singled, was hit by a pitch and walked twice.
The victory came just hours after the Israeli team arrived in Pittsburgh. For much of the team, it was their first time in the city.
“We just arrived like three hours ago and on the way from the airport it seems like a wonderful city,” said Yaron Erel, manager of the Israeli team, of his initial reaction to Pittsburgh. “The people are very friendly.”
Fourteen players age 16 and under made up the Israeli team. Families pay some $4,000 for their children to take the trip.
“We have one player from the north, we have one player from the south border with Gaza, we have players from Tel Aviv, from all over,” Erel said.
Players for the Israeli team are selected out of a league of nine teams in Israel. Players have to go through an enrichment program and tryouts to make the team.
The games the Israeli team will play in the United States serve as a warm up to the Maccabiah Games in 2013.
Congregation Beth Shalom Men’s Club provided food for the players and coaches after the game.
Another game between Allderdice and Israel is expected to take place this week, likely Friday afternoon at the Allderdice field, but the details are subject to weather and the availability of some Allderdice players with commitments to teams in other leagues. The community is invited to attend the game free of charge.
(Andrew Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)