Team Israel’s baseball team will play two exhibition games in Connecticut this week before heading to the Olympics in Tokyo.
The games will be at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford today and tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.
Team Israel is led by four-time MLB All-Star Ian Kinsler, who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, according to a news release from the Hartford Yard Goats.
Josh Zeid, a native of New Haven who played for the Astros, is also on the team.
Zeid, who went to Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, pitched parts of two seasons for the Houston Astros in 2013 and 2014.
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The team will play exhibition games against the Bristol Blues and Ocean State Waves of the NECL -- New England Collegiate Baseball League -- as part of its Northeast United States tour.
“We are excited that our fans will get the opportunity to see Team Israel compete in a game leading up to their appearance in Tokyo at the upcoming Olympics,” Yard Goats team owner Josh Solomon said in a statement. “It is a huge accomplishment for such a small country to qualify for the Olympics and we are honored to host them at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.”
Tickets are $10. They are on sale at the Click It or Ticket Box Office at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and can be ordered over the phone by calling 860-246-4628 or online at www.yardgoatsbaseball.com.
The Team Israel roster also includes former major league players such as C Ryan Lavarnway, of the Red Sox, Orioles, Braves, Athletics, Pirates, Reds and Marlins. He was an All American at Yale University
The team also includes INF Danny Valencia, Twins and Orioles; INF/OF Ty Kelly, Mets and Phillies; LHP Jeremy Bleich, Athletics; RHP Jon Moscot, Reds; RHP Zack Weiss, Reds; and former Yard Goats infielder Scott Burcham.
"We're delighted to be able to spend some time in Hartford during our Olympic preparations," Team Israel GM Peter Kurtz said in a statement.
Lavarnway, who was an All-American at Yale University, set the Ivy League home run record before going on to play in the Major Leagues. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, he has spent the last ten seasons in the majors and was part of the Red Sox World Series club in 2013.
Burcham, an infielder, played for the Yard Goats in 2018 and 2019 and is currently with the Rockies Triple-a affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes. He had played in 134 games with the Yard Goats the past two minor league seasons with 21 doubles, five home runs and 36 RBI.
Valencia played nine years in the Major Leagues with the Twins, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals, Blue Jays, Athletics, and Mariners. He played parts of two seasons in Connecticut starring for the New Britain Rock Cats in 2008 and 2009.
Kelly played parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues with the Mets and Phillies from 2016 through 2018.
Bleich, a left-handed pitcher, was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees out of Stanford University.
Team Israel will head to Tokyo on July 22.