22/06/2021 - 26/06/2021

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Melky Cabrera’s homer ignites Dominican Republic come-from-behind win to earn final berth in Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Melky Cabrera’s homer ignites Dominican Republic come-from-behind win to earn final berth in Tokyo 2020 Olympics
27/06/2021
The Caribbean team recovered from a 3-run deficit in the second inning to secure the country’s second Olympic appearance in history.

The Dominican Republic clinched the final berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition with an 8-5 win over Venezuela in the final game of the WBSC Baseball Final Olympic Qualifier played in Puebla, Mexico. The Caribbean team recovered from a 3-run deficit in the second inning to secure the country’s second Olympic appearance in history.

Venezuela jumped ahead in the top of the second inning with a 3-run homer by Diego Rincones. Alexander Palma had singled and Robinson Chirinos walked before Rincones hit a no-doubter to left field to put Venezuela on top 3-0.

In the bottom of the third, Dominican Republic started the come-back. With two outs in the scoreboard, leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio drew a walk and Venezuelan manager Jose Alguacil replaced his starter, Yapson Gomez, by Eduardo Paredes. However, Melky Cabrera (who had only 1 hit in the previous two games in the tournament) sent a 0-1 pitch into the right-field bleachers to make it a one-run game.

One inning later, Dominican Republic exploded with six runs to take the lead in the game. The team led by Hector Borg sent nine hitters to the plate, including five consecutive hits to open the inning and a sacrifice fly to put the score 8-3 and turn the game in their favour.

Venezuela didn’t give up and reduced the deficit to 8-4 in the seventh frame, with an RBI single by left fielder Alexander Palma, who tallied three hits in the game and closed the tournament with a .438 batting average.

In the top of the ninth, Alexi Amarista closed an amazing tournament with his sixth hit of the tournament and later scored the last run of the tournament on an RBI double by Danry Vazquez.

The Dominican Republic qualified for the Olympic Games for the second time, after 1992 when baseball was included on the Olympic programme for the first time. They won two of their seven games to finish sixth out of eight teams. They recorded wins against Spain and Italy.

The Dominican Republic joins Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico and USA in the six-team baseball event in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.