31/05/2021 - 05/06/2021

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Baseball Americas Qualifier 2021 - Official Payoff

Americas Olympic baseball qualifier: 'Every pitch was intense' says US manager Scioscia

Americas Olympic baseball qualifier: 'Every pitch was intense' says US manager Scioscia
07/06/2021
The top-ranked team in Florida proved to be the best defensive team, as well (2.50 ERA and only two defensive errors), while also posting a .312 team batting average.

World No. 2 United States went undefeated in the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier, earning a ticket to the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"We played consistent ball," USA manager Mike Scioscia said after the game.

The former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star catcher and World Series-winning manager added: "I've learned a lot -- this is totally different than a Major League season."

Scioscia also said: "In these games, every pitch was intense. Our job as a staff was just to establish the atmosphere, just go there and play. Just play for the pitch, go after that and play baseball. Our guys did a great job. We faced some tough pitchers, good hitting ballclubs. But, our guys left their hearts on the field."

The US indeed played consistent baseball. They had a .312 team batting average, and their pitching staff allowed only 2.5 earned runs per nine innings. In addition, the US defence committed only two errors over five games.

Veteran third baseman Todd Frazier was the team's MVP during the Super Round. He went 4-for-4 with a home run against Venezuela in the final game, but he also had two RBIs against Canada the day before.

"You can see the pride that every team had, every player wanted to win so badly,” said Frazier. “And that's what makes the Olympics exciting, playing for the USA, playing for Canada for instance, or Venezuela. I wish you guys could understand it felt like a Major League game in playoffs -- that much fun."

Historic road to the Olympics

The US National Baseball Team has failed to qualify for the Olympic Games only once. During the Americas Qualifier 2003 in Panama, they were eliminated by Mexico and didn't participate in the Athens 2004 Games. The US has won a gold medal (Sydney 2000) and two bronze medals (Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008) in Olympic baseball.

The Dominican Republic proved a strong hitting team, posting a .337 batting average and a record 15 home runs. The Dominican pitching staff was not as sharp, allowing 4.6 earned runs per nine innings.

Venezuela matched the Dominican pitching staff (4.50 ERA) and showed a lot of power (8 home runs), but their lineup overall underperformed, posting a .245 batting average.

World No. 8 Venezuela and No. 10 Dominican Republic will have one more chance to qualify for the Olympics during the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier, which is scheduled 22 to 26 June in Puebla, Mexico. The two Americas squads will compete in Mexico together with the top teams from Oceania and Europe, No. 6 Australia and No. 9 Netherlands.

The Venezuelan National Baseball Team has never made it to the Olympics, while the Dominican Republic has participated once, at Barcelona 1992.

Australia earned a silver medal at the Athens Olympics and participated in 1996, 2000 and 2004 editions. The Netherlands has participated in every Olympic baseball event, with the exception of Barcelona 1992.

Watch the US qualification press conference