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Israel pro baseball cutting back

Israel’s struggling professional baseball league will offer a brief exhibition series this summer in lieu of a schedule.

The Israel Baseball League announced Wednesday that it would pit its all-stars from last summer’s inaugural season against international players in a best-of-seven match-up next month. Plans also call for a winter league and a return to a full slate in the summer of 2009.

David Solomont, a Boston businessman and the IBL’s interim president, told The Associated Press that new investors have raised enough money to pay off all remaining debts and finance the league for at least two more seasons.

Last month the IBL said that despite major financial problems, it was returning for a second season with four teams playing a 20-game schedule – two fewer teams and half as many games as a year ago.

Solomont said the seven-game series would be the best way to generate fan interest and showcase Israeli talent. The series, which will include youth clinics, is scheduled to open Aug. 14 to coincide with the Beijing Olympics.

The IBL suffered from low attendance during its inaugural season and the departure of several executive board members afterward.

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