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Fishman hoping to play for Israel in WBC

Fishman hoping to play for Israel in WBC

Team is in tournament for first time
Fishman hoping to play for Israel in WBC
Former Union College player Jake Fishman pitches in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league rookie camp last summer.
Photographer: Eddie Michels/For The Daily Gazette

Former Union College pitcher Jake Fishman looks forward to the possibility of representing Israel on the baseball diamond.

Someday, he would like to even visit the country he’s never seen.

Fishman, a native of Sharon, Mass, is a reserve for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. That means if someone gets hurt or backs out, Fishman could be called upon to join the team.

Team Israel is playing in the WBC for the first time. The round-robin competition is March 6-10 in Seoul, South Korea. Israel is in a bracket with Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands. The top two teams advance to the second round against the top two teams from Pool B (Australia, China, Cuba and Japan) March 11-16 in Tokyo. The top two teams go on to the single-elimination championship round March 20-22 in Los Angeles.

Fishman, who is Jewish, got a spot on the team thanks to Team Israel coach Jerry Weinstein, who was Fishman’s coach when he played for the Cape Cod League’s Wareham Gatemen last summer.

“He had a chance to see me over the summer,” Fishman said. “He brought it up to me. Obviously, it was something that I wanted to do. He liked me, and liked what I can do, so he got me on the team.”

Weinstein liked what he saw of Fishman. He won’t hesitate to call Fishman if he is needed to join the team.

“He’s got a funky delivery, kind of a start-and-stop delivery,” Weinstein said. “It’s a little bit different. He’s got deception because that’s not something guys see very often. Plus, he’s got movement and life. He’s a strike thrower. He attacks the strike zone.

“He’s so different, in the best sense, in the way his delivery is. It’s so different than the traditional delivery in that hitters don’t get to see that. So when you bring a guy like that in, it’s a significant contrast.”

Even though Fishman is only a reserve, the 22-year-old left-hander is thrilled to have a chance to play for Team Israel if he gets the call.

“There’s definitely not many first-year [pro] players that get an opportunity like this,” Fishman said. “It’s really exciting to me that Jerry liked me enough to bring me on.”

Some of the recognizable names on the Israeli roster include former New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis and 15-year MLB pitcher Jason Marquis.

“Honestly, I’m going into it just being ready if they call me,” Fishman said. “And if they don’t, that’s OK with me. I’m just happy that they put me on the roster.”

It’s been a whirlwind last few months for Fishman.

In June, Fishman was named Liberty League Player and Pitcher of the Year. Also in that month, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Fishman in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Fishman decided to forgo his senior season and sign with the Blue Jays. And now, the chance of playing on the world stage in the WBC possibly looms for him.

Fishman had an outstanding career at Union, both on the mound and at the plate. As a pitcher, he went 18-2, including 7-0 last year with a 0.41 earned run average. At as hitter, Fishman batted .410. In 2015, Fishman had a .477 batting average.

He pitched in seven games for the Gulf Coast Blue Jays last season. Fishman went 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA. He struck out 13 and walked four in 15 innings.

Fishman will report to the Blue Jays’ minor league camp later this month. He is hoping to make the Jays’ full-season Class A team 

“It’s hard to know or to even have any expectations,” Fishman said, “because what I’ve come to realize is that how hectic the whole process is. You never know where you’re going to go, or when you’re going to move. So, you really have to keep a level head and be ready to go anywhere and be placed on any team.”

There is one place he would like to go.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Ken Schott at 395-3159, [email protected] or on Twitter @slapschotts. Read his blog, Parting Schotts, here.

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