Oren Gal, the five-foot, eight-inch Canadian Jew who played infield for the Modi'in Miracle of the Israel Baseball League in its first-- and possibly last-- season, was named Most Valuable Player in the Israeli national baseball team's round in the 2008 European Championship Qualifier.
Israel only placed third among its group of five teams in the series in Karlovac, Croatia, last week, which only magnifies the greatness of Oren's accomplishment. Playing second base, the man they call"O-Dog" led the entire group with nine hits for the tournament, including four for extra bases, finishing with what The Jerusalem Post called "a ridiculous" .529 batting average.
The group was won by the favorite Croatia, which advances to the 2009 European Baseball Championships.
A total of 23 teams competed across Europe for the final five slots of the 12-team tournament for next year's championship, where the Netherlands will defend Europe's baseball crown following their 2007 victory.
Israel stumbled out of the gate with before finishing the tournament strong with back-to-back victories against Serbia and Lithuania after leading off with losses to Bulgaria and Croatia.