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Assaf Lowengart Signs With N.Y. Boulders; Becomes First Israeli-Born Pro Player

 Matt Tallarini  |    Mar 30th, 2024 8:05am EDT

Assaf Lowengart of Team Israel high fives Scotty Burcham after their 12-5 win against Team Mexico during round one of baseball team competition on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 01, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

Israel national team utility player Assaf Lowengart became the first Israeli-born player to sign a professional baseball  contract, when he inked  a deal with the New York Boulders of the Frontier League in February.

The New York Boulders announced Lowengart’s signing on Feb. 8. 

Lowengart, 26, was born in Timorim, Israel, and is aiming to play in his first professional season of his baseball career. 

“My teammates taught me so much, with and without them knowing. I try to watch how others practice, move, and go about their business to see what I can learn from them,” Lowengart told World Baseball Network.  “Thankfully, I have been on some very good teams even when I wasn’t so good. Since the Olympics I have been staying with Ty Kelly while training with him and Blake Gailen every winter.” 

Lowengart played for Israel at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at Yokohama Stadium, and the 2019, 2021 and 2023 European Championship during his international baseball career. Israel lost 16-11 to Spain in the bronze medal game at the 2019 European Championship in Germany. 

Lowengart was on the Israel roster in the Europe/Africa Olympic qualifier in Italy in September of 2019, but did not appear in a game. Israel qualified for the 2020 Olympics at the event by going 4-1, with their only loss coming against the Czech Republic. 

Lowengart came off the bench in three games at the 2020 Olympics against South Korea, Mexico and the United States and walked once in two plate appearances without recording a hit. Israel went 1-4 in Tokyo and finished in fifth place. 

Lowengart played third base at the 2021 European Championship started in six games and batted .280 with 25 at-bats smacking seven hits, two doubles, four home runs, 13 RBI, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Israel lost 9-4 in the gold medal game of the 2021 European Championship to the Netherlands. 

Lowengart did not play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Pool D at loanDepot Park in Miami due to a broken  ankle suffered three weeks before the tournament in his first game at the College of William & Mary.

During the 2023 European Championship, Lowengart started in six games at second base and batted .273 with 22-at bats recorded six hits, one double, four RBI, four walks, one hit-by-pitch, and five strikeouts. Israel went 3-3 at the 2023 European Championship and finished in sixth place with the same record as France. 

“My teammates have been instrumental in my development and still are. One of the biggest things that helped me was that my coaches in Israel were national team players at the time,” Lowengart told World Baseball Network.  Amit Kurz, Orr Gotlieb, Asaf Rothem, and Ophir Katz were great role models in what it takes to be a top player in Israel.” 

Lowengart started to play the sport when he was in the under-12 little league at Kibbutz Gezer, home to Israel’s first baseball field, the same field where Israel national team alum player and coach and second-season Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Alon Leichman first played the game. He attended Be’er Tuvia Regional Council for high school, which is located in the southern district of Israel before he served in the Israel Defense Forces. 

After serving in the IDF, Lowengart began his collegiate career at San Joaquin Delta College and played in 14 games in the 2019 season and batted .182 with two hits, two RBI, one walk, and three strikeouts before he explored other options to play at another institution.  He played in three games in 2020 at SUNY Sullivan before the regular season was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

He then transferred to Mansfield University of Pennsylvania during the 2021 regular season and played in 31 games, batting .290 with 31 hits, five doubles, 11 home runs, 26 RBI, 14 walks, and 51 strikeouts.  

In the 2022 season with Mansfield University of Pennsylvania he was named 2022 Spring Male Athlete of the Year, won the Creed Award for Culture, the Iron Mountie of the year, was seconnd-Team All-PSAC, First-Team D2CCA and Honorable NCBWA All-Atlantic Region Utility Player. 

He hit .351 while playing in 46 games in 2022 with 198 plate appearances recorded 61 hits, 19 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 44 RBI, four stolen bases, 20 walks, 39 strikeouts, and a 1.087 OPS before he played for the Auburn Doubledays in the Perfect Game Collegiate League in the summer. 

With Auburn, he played in 24 games and hit .257 with 19 hits, six doubles, two home runs, 22 RBI, four stolen bases, 13 walks, and 18 strikeouts. 

Lowengart transferred again, to the College of William & Mary, to play in his third collegiate season, and graduated in May 2023 with his MBA in business analytics. 

Lowengart will have the chance to play in front of a heavily Jewish local fan base in Rockland County, N.Y., a few miles north of New York City, and play in front of Major League Baseball scouts.

He’ll return to Clover Stadium in Pomona, N.Y. on May 10 against the New Jersey Jackals at 7:00 p.m. EST for the organization’s first home game of the 2024 season. He previously appeared there when he played against the New York Boulders with Team Israel in an exhibition game on July 12, 2021, before the Olympics in Tokyo. 

“My goal is going to be picking up on the different tendencies professional players have compared to college guys as well as trusting myself,” Lowengart said. “I’m not too worried, as I have faced pro guys in the tournaments with the national team and have had success. I am very excited for the opportunity to play for the Boulders to showcase my abilities for a full season against high-level competition.”