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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Mieses, Bautista help Dominican Republic walk off Israel, setting up key game with USA in Olympic baseball event

Mieses, Bautista help Dominican Republic walk off Israel, setting up key game with USA in Olympic baseball event
03/08/2021
Jose Bautista delivered a two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to end the game. He also threw an Israel runner out at home plate.

Johan Mieses belted a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth and Jose Bautista was clutch with a two-out, walk-off single to give No. 7 Dominican Republic a come-from-behind victory, 7-6, over No. 24 Israel in an elimination game at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition. Tomorrow, Dominican Republic will play No. 4 USA at noon (JST) with a spot in the second semifinal at stake. Israel finishes its participation with a 1-4 record, good for fifth place. 

Two defensive errors by Israel’s defense in the first three innings helped Dominican Republic score the first two runs of the game. Emilio Bonifacio showed a bunt but then pushed the ball over the third baseman head, who was charging the bunt, allowing him to reach second base and advance to third on a throwing error by shortstop Scotty Burcham. One out later, Julio Rodriguez brought him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Jeison Guzman and Gustavo Nuñez opened Dominican Republic’s third inning with back to back singles. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway tried to pick off Nuñez on first, but the throw was low and the ball went into the right field foul territory, allowing Guzman to score from second.

Christopher Mercedes got his second start of the tournament, after being the Dominican Republic opening game starter last Wednesday against Japan, when he tossed six quality innings with three hits, one run and seven strikeouts. Tonight, he retired the first nine hitters he faced.

In the fifth inning, Israel rallied to take the lead in the game. A fielding error by shortstop Jeison Guzman put Erick Rickles on first and Ty Kelly walked before Zack Penprase hit a single to left field. Rickles was sent to home but a charging Bautista threw him out at home plate. 

Immediately after, Mitch Glaser tied the game with a two-run hit to right field, and Burcham followed with a go-ahead RBI single. Jhan Martinez replaced Mercedes to pitch to Ian Kinsler, but the veteran second baseman delivered a single to center field to plate Israel’s fourth run.

With the score 4-2, Bautista started things off in the bottom of the sixth with a veteran, quality at bat drawing a full-count walk against lefty Jake Fishman. Mejia followed with another base on balls, and Julio Rodriguez lined to center field to make it a one-run ballgame, leaving runners in the corners with no outs. One out later, Mieses grounded slowly to third base, bringing in the tying run from third.

One inning later, after his defensive error in the fifth, Guzman launched a go-ahead solo homer to left field to give Dominican Republic a 5-4 lead again in the score.

However, in the top of the eighth Danny Valencia turned things around again with a two-run homer off setup man Jose Diaz, with Israel reclaiming the lead, 6-5. 

After having lost two games in the bottom of the ninth, tonight Dominican Republic earned the walk-off win. Mieses tied the game with a no-doubter to left field that electrified the Dominican dugout. Then Melky Cabrera singled to left field and two outs later, with runners in the corners, Bautista delivered a line drive to center field that sealed the win for his country.

In an iconic 'Olympic moment' after the epic battle, players from both sides shook hands.

Dominican Republic advances to the next round, to face USA tomorrow at noon. With tonight’s win, the Dominican squad is now two wins away of the Gold Medal Game and has secured at least a spot in the Bronze Medal Game.