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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Korea, USA managers, players react to Olympic semifinal

Korea, USA managers, players react to Olympic semifinal
05/08/2021
"I'm sorry we didn't win and didn't give us another chance to face Japan," said Korea's manager Kyung-moon Kim. "Think about the fact these guys will be competing for gold on Saturday. It doesn't get any better than that," commented US manager Mike Scioscia.

The United States beat Beijing 2008 champions Korea, 7-2, on Thursday night in Yokohama to advance to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball gold medal game. USA will face rival Japan on Saturday, 7 August, while Korea will meet the Dominican Republic for bronze.

FULL GAME REPORT BOX SCORE

The US broke the score open with a five-run bottom of the sixth. Korea used five pitchers to get the three outs.

"The game had been close up to that point," commented Korea's manager Kyung-moon Kim. Then they got to our bullpen and opened up the score."

The Korean press asked the manager if he didn't regret about not bringing more relief pitchers.

"I'm sorry we didn't win and didn't give us another chance to face Japan, but there's not much I can say to answer your question," Kim said. "The use of relievers depends on how much starting pitchers last. Relievers have pitched day after day, so some of the pitchers may have been worn out tonight. I'm still sure we knew what we were doing when we selected the pitching staff."

Korea got to reliever Scott McGough in top of the seventh, but Ryder Ryan ended the threat forcing a 4-6-3 double play with some help from second baseman Eddy Alvarez.

"Our bullpen is the main reason why we will be facing Japan for a gold medal on Saturday," commented US manager Mike Scioscia.

"The Olympics have been freaking awesome," Scioscia added. "It has been like a pennant race. It's been as intense as anything I've been part of in baseball. Look at our jerseys, we've got USA stamped across our chests. Also, think about the fact these guys will be competing for gold on Saturday. It doesn't get any better than that."

Starting pitcher Joe Ryan allowed one run over 4.1 innings of work.

"It was the biggest game I've ever pitched in, but the game against Israel was mentally tougher," said Ryan. "Tonight, I had more control of myself, and I could execute some pitches I didn't use in my first start. I need to thank Scott Kazmir. We worked out on my changeup at the village before this game."

Jamie Westbrook hit a home run after going just 2-for-15 in the rest of the tournament.
"It was really cool. I hit it, and I got blanked out," he commented.

Westbrook added: "It is such a great honour to be involved in this. I almost cannot believe it. Last Summer, I was released, and I started thinking I would never play organized baseball again. Now I will be playing for gold in the Olympics. It's pretty cool. We're going to enjoy tonight, practice tomorrow and get ready for the game. We thought we were going to play Japan, so we're ready for it. Japan is a great team, but if we play as we know, I like our chances."

Catcher Tom Kolozsvary also spoke about playing for gold.
"It's really hard to think about it. It is a dream come true," he said.

Manager Scioscia showed respect for Japan: "They are a terrific team. We've played tought teams every day and we also have a great team. We will try to do things that get the game under our control."

Korea will face the Dominican Republic for bronze.
"We had 2 tough losses back to back, but we're getting a lot of support from our fans back home. We'll do our best," said manager Kim. "At this stage, we have to forget about the fact we are the defending gold medalists. We need to take a good rest and play a good game on Saturday."

Kim added: "In 2008 in Beijing, we were just having fun and happened to win a game after another and win gold. We didn't come here focused on a gold medal. We wanted just to get together and play well. Even if we don't win gold, we will still remember it as a good experience. The younger players learned a lot, and we understood what our shortcomings were."