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Thursday, July 7, 2022

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José Bautista’s walk-off hit beats Israel at the Tokyo Olympics

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José Bautista hit a walk-off hit in an exciting ninth inning and the Dominican Republic beat Israel 7-6 in the first playoff of baseball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With the victory, the team of manager Héctor Borg will face the United States on Wednesday at 12:00 local time (0300 GMT) in the second round of the play-off for a place in the semifinals.

The Dominican Republic entered the final inning of the game at the Yokohama Stadium one run behind. A huge solo homer by Johan Mieses from left field opened the chapter and Bautista’s hit with men in the corners turned the scoreboard.

Luis Castillo was the winning pitcher in a shutout 9th inning, accepting a hit.

Local Japan and the champion of the last previous Olympic baseball tournament (Beijing-2008), South Korea, will also play the first semifinal of the event on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (10:00 GMT).

The winner between the Japanese and the South Koreans wins the right to play for gold on Saturday, while the loser will play the second semifinal against the winner between the Dominicans and the Americans.

Two errors by the now-eliminated Israel team opened the door for Dominican runs in the first and third inning.

Emilio Bonifacio started the game with a strange double, a long hit that ended up stinging in the leftfield and advanced to third base due to the sin of the third baseman Ty Kelly on the shot to middle. Bonifacio scored on Julio Rodríguez’s sacrifice fly to put the Dominicans ahead in the first act.

Jeison Guzmán and Gustavo Núñez had hits to open the third chapter. A sin by catcher Ryan Lavarnway trying to surprise Núñez when he took distance in the first game cost a new line scored by Guzmán.

Israel turned the board around with a four-score rally in the fifth inning.

Nick Rickles, with one out, reached on Guzman’s sin at shortstop and Kelly walked. Zack Penprise hit an uncatchable short and Rickles, however, dared to search for home plate, being retired.

It seemed that the Dominican, after all, could control the situation.

Mitch Glasser chartered Kelly and Penprise to level with a double and then scored on Scotty Burcham’s hit-and-run. Stripe poker was completed with Ian Kinsler’s hit for Burcham to score in a close action that required video review to be revalidated.

The commitment was tied in the sixth inning, with consecutive walks to Bautista (substitute for Bonifacio from the fourth inning) and Erick Mejía.

Bautista scored with a hit by Rodríguez and Mejía, who went to third base with the connection of the Seattle Mariners prospect, did the same with a touch of Johan Mieses.

And in the seventh, a solo homer by Núñez returned the advantage to the Dominican Republic.

Israel did not give up, which responded in the next act with Valencia’s home run. It was the third Olympic homer for him.

When the Dominican team looked very close to being eliminated by the Israelis, as happened to Mexico, Mieses hit a home run to tie the game at 6 and Bautista came to the rescue with a walk-off hit to score Yefry Pérez.

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