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McKinnon brothers to compete in international tourney in Israel

Baseball: Ian and Sam McKinnon of Burbank High earn spots on Team USA in World Maccabiah Games.

June 12, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(KcKinnon Family )

Burbank — Brothers Ian and Sam McKinnon are used to a little friendly competition.

As baseball players for Burbank High this past season, the brothers got a healthy dose of competition while helping lead the Bulldogs to their first Pacific League championship since 1991.

Ian, a recent graduate, and Sam, who will be a senior in the fall, will get a chance to compete against international competition when they take part in a tournament next month. The brothers have been selected as members of Team USA and will participate in the 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, July 18-30.

The Maccabiah Games are the third largest international sporting event in the world, after the Summer Olympics and the Pan Am Games. There will be more than 8,500 participants from 70 countries participating in various sports at this year's competition. More than 1,100 Jewish-American athletes and coaches are expected to comprise the American contingent.

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"We had to actually go to tryouts in hopes of making the team," said Sam, who is a catcher. "They had tryouts here and also had them in Chicago and New York. I've always been confident in my baseball abilities, but competing against the guys that we did and not knowing the type of competition they were going to have in New York and Chicago was a bit intimidating.

"But after we got picked, it was a relief and I felt honored to be chosen."

Ian, an outfielder, also said he was humbled to be chosen to represent the United States in the games. But what he is most happy about is that he will be able to share the experience with his brother.

"It was really gratifying for me to be able to make the team," Ian said. "But when I found out that by brother made it as well, it made it all that more special. I don't know what would have happened if one of us didn't make it, maybe a little sibling rivalry."

At the games, athletes will participate in 31 sports. Members of the American teams come from 37 states, the District of Columbia and Israel. The games are always held in Israel and every Israeli citizen, and every Jew not an Israeli citizen, is eligible to compete in the games. The MacCabiah Games are viewed as an opportunity for Jewish athletes from around the world to convene in Israel for athletic competition and to explore the heritage of the historic Jewish homeland.

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