LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The U.S. defeated Israel 8-1 today to begin play in the Olympic baseball tournament, with both teams' rosters including players from Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Edison High School and UCLA alumnus Eric Filia had two of the 11 U.S. hits and scored a run. Ryan Lavarnway, a 2005 graduate of El Camino Real Charter High School, hit a fourth-inning home run for Israel. Lavarnway hit two runs and drove in three runs in Israel's 6-5 10-inning loss South Korea Thursday.
Another El Camino Real graduate, Blake Gailen, singled for Israel with two outs in the first inning, advancing Ty Kelly, who doubled, to third. However, Lavarnway grounded out to end the inning.
Nearly the entire Israel roster consists of Americans who became Israeli citizens under the nation's Law of Return, which gives Jews the right to come and live in Israel and gain Israeli citizenship.
Israel qualified for the Olympics by winning the 2019 Europe/Africa continental tournament. The U.S. qualified by winning the Americas qualification event in Florida in June after failing in its first attempt to qualify for the six-team field in 2019.
Joe Ryan, who pitched for Cal State Northridge from 2015-17, was the winning pitcher, allowing one run and five hits over six innings with five strikeouts and not walking a batter.
The U.S. will next play at 3 a.m., Pacific Time, Saturday against South Korea in another opening-round game in Yokohama, Japan.
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