28/07/2021 - 07/08/2021


Hosted by:   JPN

Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

ISR-MEX, DOM-KOR managers, players discuss first round of Olympic Baseball knockout stage

ISR-MEX, DOM-KOR managers, players discuss first round of Olympic Baseball knockout stage
Israel and Korea will face each other in the first quarterfinal on Monday, 2 August. The winner will at the very least secure a place in the bronze medal game.

World No. 24 Israel outscored No. 5 Mexico, 12-5, and eliminated them from the Tokyo 2020 Baseball tournament. It's Israel's first-ever Olympic win in baseball history.


Designated hitter Nick Rickles went 2 for 5 with three RBIs, first baseman Danny Valencia went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs.

Valencia talked about the three-run homer he hit off starter Manny Barreda in the top of the third: "I was looking for something out over the plate to hit hard tonight. The starter threw a lot of fastballs. So, I really got my pitch. I hammered it. To be honest, I crushed that ball. It felt really good and came at a big moment. It got the momentum going."

After falling behind 5-0, Mexico got to Israel starter Josh Zeid and scored four runs in the bottom half of the third.

"We knew it was going to be a dogfight," Valencia said. "It was a testament to Mexico because they really battled right there."

Rickles added: "I don’t think it is so much about beating Mexico. It is a lot just to create awareness for baseball in Israel."

Four Israeli relievers allowed just one run over the rest of the game, with Zack Weiss earning the win. Israel opened the score with a six-run seventh at-bat against relievers Fernando Salas and Oliver Perez.

"This was just a team win all around," commented manager Eric Holtz. "The pitching was really good today. We could have folded when they came within one run, but we put more runs on the board and kind of took the wind out of their sails."

Valencia is looking ahead: "We are in a great position. We win tomorrow, and we are in a medal game. And I think it is going to be a hell of a story if that happens."

"Honestly, it is unfortunate. I am stunned," said Mexico's manager Benji Gil. "I would even say that I am in shock. Not even in my worst nightmares, I thought this would be our result. With the talent we have, I thought we were going to win today and move on and go far (in the tournament)."

Gil analysed how his pitching staff performed: "Mexico has always stood out for its pitching ability," commented Gil. "That’s really our trademark. This is what has made us so distinctive in international competitions. Unfortunately, in these last two games, we did not see that. We allowed 19 runs in 18 innings."

World No. 3 Korea came from behind to walk off No. 7 Dominican Republic, 4-3.


Korea was trailing 3-1 when Dominican closer Luis Castillo took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. Korea tied it on a double by right fielder Jung-hoo Lee and walked it off on a laser by left fielder Hyun-soo Kim that over the head of right fielder Julio Rodriguez.

"I had never played against this pitcher before," said Kim, "so I watched him when he took the mound. I saw he was throwing a lot of changeups. As he fell behind in the count, I expected to see a changeup, and I could get a good swing on it."

"I discussed with my coaches if we should use Jo-hwan Choi in the eighth or the ninth," commented Korea's manager Kyung-moon Kim. "The fact we decided to use him to open the ninth was the game turner."

Kim added: "Our pitchers did very well. Starter Euilee Lee did a great job keeping us in the game and giving us a chance for a comeback. Tomorrow it's not going to be easy. We play the first game, and some players may be tired. Still, we have the momentum, and we'll be alright."

Lee commented: "I credit the relievers who came after me, and I also credit our hitters."
After tipping his hat, Lee added: "In the first inning, I was struggling, then our coach came to the mound and told me that I had to pitch with my arm, not with other parts of my body. That comment set me up."

Dominican manager Hector Borg said: "We worked hard and played a good game. Unfortunately, we could not shut the door in the ninth, despite having our best pitcher on the mound. It's a tough loss, but we have to move on."

"Tonight's game is over," added infielder Erick Mejia. "Our focus is on what's coming."

"Our pitching was overall good," commented starter Raul Valdes. "I had some trouble in the first; then I settled down. I think we still have our chances, and we are focused on the next game."