22/06/2021 - 26/06/2021

#Baseball #RoadtoTokyo  

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Baseball Final Qualifier - Official Payoff

Venezuela advances to final after 7-inning win over Netherlands

Venezuela advances to final after 7-inning win over Netherlands
Needing a win to push their Olympic hopes to the final stage of qualification, Venezuela served notice. It’s ready for Saturday’s big test.

The Venezuelan national team routed the Netherlands, 10-0, on Friday in a game shortened to seven innings by the run difference rule. The victory set the stage for a rematch with the Dominican Republic on Saturday with a ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games on the line.

Owners of the best offense by team batting average through round robin play of the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier, Venezuela kicked off Friday night’s elimination matchup quickly when Hernán Pérez doubled to center field with one out in the first inning and scored on Alexander Palma’s RBI single up the middle two batters later.

In the third, the world’s No. 8 team took control. Facing Netherlands veteran starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, Venezuela sent eight men to the plate in the third inning and plated six of them. Palma and Luis Sardiñas each delivered RBI singles, and Robinson Chirinos dealt the biggest blow of the inning with a monster three-run homer to left-center to make it a 6-0 lead for Friday’s home team.

On the pitcher’s mound, Venezuela starter Henry Centeno was spectacular. Over seven innings, Centeno allowed just two singles -- only one of which left the infield -- and one walk while striking out six. The right-hander threw 97 pitches, 57 for strikes.

Leading by six runs heading into the seventh inning, Venezuela put the game away. After Gorkys Hernandez led off with a single to left, Engelb Vielma launched a two-run homer to right to make it an 8-0 game. Following Alexi Amarista’s sixth walk of the Qualifier, Pérez ended the contest with a no-doubt two-run blast to left.

Venezuela now moves on to Sunday’s winner-take-all matchup with the Dominican Republic. That game will mark the third time the two national teams have faced each other in just over three weeks. The Dominican Republic beat Venezuela 14-4 on 4 June in the Baseball Americas Qualifier and followed that victory with a 10-7 win over Venezuela on Tuesday night in the first game of the Baseball Final Qualifier.

Whichever team wins Saturday’s matchup will be ending a lengthy absence from the Olympic Games. Venezuela has never qualified for the Olympics in baseball. The Dominican Republic has only taken part in one Olympic baseball event before, finishing sixth at the 1992 Barcelona Games.