The Israeli team beat the Mexico team to win the gold medal in the men’s baseball game. This is a huge upset, as Mexico has been dominating this sport for years.
The is baseball in the olympics is a question that has been asked for years. Israel’s national team managed to oust Mexico from the Tokyo games with their 1st Olympic baseball win.
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (Kyodo News) — Nick Rickles wanted to see how the crowd reacted after Israel had just thrashed Mexico for its first Olympic baseball win, riding a booming three-run homer by Danny Valencia that helped the team leap out to a six-run lead.
After Monday’s 12-5 victory, he remarked, “I don’t believe it’s so much about defeating Mexico.” “I believe it takes a lot to just increase baseball awareness in Israel. For me, it was all about soaking up the experience and witnessing how much love we got from Israelis after the game. We received thank-you notes on top of thank-you messages.”
Valencia hit a two-run home ball against a Double-A pitcher in his 15th straight minor league season, Rickles drove in three runs, and Israel hammered relievers Fernando Salas and Oliver Perez in a six-run seventh inning to advance to the tournament’s double-elimination round.
Against Tuesday, Israel (1-2) takes on South Korea (2-1), with the winner earning a spot in the gold-medal game against either the United States or Japan on Wednesday.
After hitting a three-run home run in a blowout 12-5 win, Danny Valencia celebrated with his Israel teammates. Matt Slocum/AP Photo
Rickles has been a part of the national team program for a decade and was instrumental in the Olympics’ preparations. Israel won its group and overcame Cuba in the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, then won a two-continent Olympic qualification competition and defeated the Netherlands for one of the six Olympic spots. It was defeated 6-5 in 10 innings by South Korea in its first game.
Rickles, a 31-year-old catcher who retired from Philadelphia’s minor league system during spring training in 2019 to become a Milwaukee minor league coach, stated, “I don’t believe there were a lot of expectations going into Israel playing baseball at all.”
Because Major League Baseball does not allow 40-man roster players to compete, Mexico’s starting pitcher was Manny Barreda (0-1), a 32-year-old right-hander selected by the New York Yankees in 2007 and released seven years later.
In two and a half innings, he gave up six runs on four hits and three walks.
“In Mexico, he’s a fantastic pitcher. He even threw a full nine-inning game in the winter of last year “Benji Gil, the manager, spoke via an interpreter. “It simply wasn’t his day today. He didn’t wield a lot of power. He had many balls, but he couldn’t find them.”
The first nation to be eliminated, Mexico (0-3), was outscored 20-9.
Gil said, “I’m in shock.” “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be the outcome.”
COVID-19 claimed the lives of right-hander Hector Velázquez and left-hander Sammy Sols shortly before the Olympics. Adrian Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star who last appeared in the major leagues in 2018, went 3 for 11 with an RBI, while Joey Meneses went 6 for 12 with four RBI.
Zack Weiss (1-0) earned the victory after allowing one run in two innings in relief of starter Josh Zeid, who surrendered four runs and no outs in his first major league appearance on April 12, 2018. Israel got 12 hits and scored the most runs in the competition.
Salas, a 36-year-old right-hander, allowed Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double in the seventh inning and Valencia’s single on a 91-degree Fahrenheit (32.7 Celsius) day with scorching sun.
Perez was replaced and gave up Blake Gailen’s RBI single, two-run singles by Mitch Glasser and Zack Penprase, and an RBI double by Scotty Burcham.
In the first, Ryan Lavarnway, who went 5 for 13 in the Olympics, doubled up the left-center gap, and Rickles drove in a run with two outs. When Austin Hedges landed on the disabled list with a concussion in June, Lavarnway attempted to score from second on Rickles’ single but was thrown out by left fielder Meneses.
In the third inning, Barreda walked his first two hitters, and Valencia, a week shy of his third major league at-bat, smacked an armpit-high fastball 10 rows deep into the left-field bleachers. With a two-run single, Rickles met reliever Sasagi Sanchez.
“To be honest, I pounded it. That ball was smashed by me “Valencia said. “It was crucial for the squad. It sped up the process.”
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 3, SOUTH KOREA
Kim Hyun-fourth soo’s hit, a two-out single over Julio Rodriguez off Arizona minor leaguer Luis Castillo, completed a three-run comeback in the ninth inning, and South Korea (2-1) earned its second walk-off victory.
Lee Jung-Hoo hit a tying double and Park Hae-Min hit a run-scoring single.
With a runner on base in the top half of the first, former St. Louis Cardinals closer Oh Seunghwan (1-0) relieved and got three consecutive groundouts.
Juan Francisco blasted a two-run homer halfway up the center-field scoreboard, seven years after his previous big league at-bat, the ball bouncing off the numbers showing the pitch at 148 kph (91 mph). Francisco, 34, stood at the plate, lifted his bat with his right hand and pointed to the scoreboard with his left, then performed a short dance while watching Lee Eui-lee hit a fourth-inning home run.
In 513 innings, Raul Valdes, a 43-year-old left-hander who last pitched in the majors in 2014 with Houston, allowed one run (on Yang Eui-first-inning ji’s sacrifice fly) and seven hits.
The Dominicans (1-2), who scored their first run on a wild pitch, will face the loser of the Israel-South Korea game on Tuesday in an elimination game.
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