Tokyo, Japan. (elgordogringo.com.mx) August 7, 2021-Dominican Republic topped Korea in the bronze medal game to became the seventh nation/territory to win a medal in baseball at the Olympic Games, after Cuba, Japan, United States, Korea, Australia and Chinese Taipei.
In their second olympic appearance, world No. 7 Dominican Republic made history today at Yokohama Baseball Stadium winning the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games bronze medal in baseball. The Dominican Republic powered past world No. 3 Korea, 10-6.
Juan Francisco collected three RBI and Johan Mieses hit a clutch home run in the eighth to lead Dominican Republic to victory. It’s the first-ever Olympic medal in team-sports for Dominican Republic.
The bronze medal game was a roaller-coaster since the beggining. Dominican Republic chased Min-Woo Kim early in the game with four runs in the top of the first inning. Emilio Bonifacio ignited the Dominican offense with a double down the right line, and then stole third base to start things off. Moments later, Julio Rodriguez and Juan Francisco crushed back to back pitches off Kim, launching a pair of no-doubters to left and right field respectivelly, to put the Central American team in front, 3-0. Dominican Republic added one on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Charlie Valerio.
Kim lasted only 0.1 inning, allowing three hits and four runs, with one strikeout and one walk. Woochan Cha retired the last two outs of the first inning.
In the bottom of the second, and under the rain, Korea scored their first run. Hyun-Soo Kim led off with a long double off the center field wall, and scored later on a single through the middle by Kun-Woo Park.
Hyun-Soo Kim also scored Korea’s second run with a solo line-drive shot in the fouth inning to right field, making it 4-2. The Premier12 2015 MVP scored three runs in the game, and finished with a .400 average at Tokyo 2020.
In the fifth inning, Melky Cabrera delivered the third of his four hits of the game, a two-out double off the right field wall, to plate Mieses from first base and give his team a three-run lead.
Korea reacted with three consecutive singles, the last of them an RBI single by center fielder Hae-Min Park to plate the third run of his team, to open a four-run fifth inning for Korea. Dominican manager Hector Borg pulled off Raul Valdez, and gave the ball to Luis Castillo, who retired Kyoung-Min Hur on an RBI grounder, and was replaced by lefty Dario Alvarez who couldn’t hold the runner. Park stole third base in Alvarez’s second pitch, and then scored the game-tying run on a wild pitch. Then, Hyun-Soo Kim crossed the plate on a go-ahed single to center field by Baekho Kang off Cristopher Mercedes, Dominican fourth reliever of the inning.
Dominican Republic loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, on a walk, a single and a hit by pitch, but Sewoong Park escaped with a huge strikeout against Dominican clean up hitter Francisco to escape trouble.
Seunghwan Oh took the ball for Korea to pitch the eighth inning with a 6-5 lead, but only could retire one out. The Dominicans loaded the bases again with a pair of singles and a walk to Rodriguez, and Jeison Guzman scored the tying-run with a wild pitch. Two pitches later Francisco slapped a two-run double to the opposite field to take the lead again, and then Johan Mieses belted a two-run homer to left field to make it 10-6. Dominican Republic sent 10 batters in the eighth.
“For me, it was that walk [in the eighth inning] after we were able to tie the game and give the at bat to Juan Francisco,” said Rodriguez. “That was my favorite at bat. [My] homer was great, it was exciting, but that was my favorite at bat of the game.”
In the ninth inning, Hyeseong Kim and Hae-Min Park hit a single and a double respectively off Mercedes to open the inning, and Jose Diaz replaced him in the mound. The right-hander saved the game, retiring the next three batters to seal the win.
Dominican Republic becomes the seventh nation/territory to win a medal in baseball at the Olympic Games, after Cuba, Japan, United States, Korea, Australia and Chinese Taipei. It’s also the first time the Dominican Republic wins an Olympic medal in a team sport. The bronze in baseball is the Dominican Republic’s fifth medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games, a record for the Central American nation.
Korea ended its fourth Olympic baseball tournament in fourth place, after a gold medal in Beijing 2008, a bronze in Sydney 2000 and an eighth place in Atlanta 1996.