SEOUL, South Korea – Former Palm Desert High School baseball player Scott Burcham singled in the winning run in extra innings Monday to lead Israel over South Korea 2-1 in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic.
Israel got on the scoreboard in the second inning on a bases-loaded walk, but South Korea tied it in the fifth when Seo Geong-chan singled to left, scoring Kim Jae-ho from third.
Burcham’s infield single to second base scored the runner from third in the 10th inning. Josh Zeid retired the side in the bottom of the 10th and was the winning pitcher.
Burcham, who is in the Colorado Rockies’ minor-league system, is on the Israel team because of Jewish heritage along with his recent success as a shortstop on the baseball field. The manager for the Israeli team is Rockies Double-A manager Jerry Weinstein.
Burcham was a four-year starter for the Aztecs and won a CIF Southern Section title during his junior season with a Division 4 championship victory over Torrance 9-0. He was named the game’s MVP. His senior season, he hit .371 while scoring 30 runs, recording 29 RBIs and hitting nine doubles and five homers while leading Palm Desert back to the CIF SS finals.
He was an All-CIF selection as a junior and senior and made the All-Desert Valley League team each of his final three years.
At Sacramento State, Burcham finished with a .278 career batting average, including a .329 average his senior season, where he scored 46 runs, knocked in 33 RBIs and had 80 hits, including nine doubles, six triples and four homers.
First-round games also are being played in Miami, Tokyo and Guadalajara. Second-round games will be in San Diego and Tokyo, while the championship round is at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles from March 20-22.
Nathan Brown of The Desert Sun contributed to this report.