Israel knocks Mexico out of Olympic baseball tournament, advances to quarterfinals

Israel knocks Mexico out of Olympic baseball tournament, advances to quarterfinals
01/08/2021
Israel got its historic first-ever win in Olympic Baseball to set up a quarterfinal matchup Monday with the winner of the Dominican Republic-Korea contest.

Danny Valencia and Nick Rickles powered world No. 24 Israel’s 12-hit offensive today with three RBI each to help their team secure a 12-5 win against No. 5 Mexico in the first game of the Tokyo 2020 knockout stage at Yokohama Stadium. A pair of big innings propelled Israel to their first-ever win in the Olympic baseball history, while Mexico has been eliminated after three consecutive losses in the Tokyo 2020 event.

Israel led from start to finish. In the first inning, Valencia drew a walk and landed on third on a double by Ryan Lavarnway, his fifth hit in three games. Then Mexican second baseman Ryan Goins made a run-saving diving catch for the second out, before Rickles collected his first RBI with a single to left field. On the play, Lavarnway was thrown out at home plate by Mexican left fielder Joey Meneses for the third out.

Israel scored five times in the third inning to take a 6-0 lead. Starter Daniel Barreda issued consecutive walks to Scotty Burcham and Ian Kinsler, and served a three-run shot to Valencia, a no-doubter that landed in the tenth row of the stands. Rickles added a two-RBI single.

Mexico answered in the bottom of the third with three doubles and four runs to stay in the game. Jonathan Jones, the top Mexican hitter at the Premier12 2019, led off the home third with a two-bagger down the left line, and scored immediately with a Goins RBI double to left field, who then crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Sebastian Elizalde added an RBI double and scored on a single by Meneses. 

Mexico made it a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth. Meneses crushed a leadoff, opposite-field double off the right field wall and crossed the plate on a single by five-time MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez. Daniel Espinoza was hit by a pitch, and Efren Navarro advanced the runners, putting the potential go-ahead run in scoring position. However, reliever Zack Weiss struck out Jones and Roman Solis to preserve a one-run lead for Israel. 

Israel rallied again in the seventh, sending 10 batters to the box and adding six runs to the scoreboard, with 2-RBI singles by Mitch Glasser and Penprase, and RBI base hits by Gailen and Burcham. 

Zack Weiss was credited with the win, pitching two innings in relief, giving up two hits and one run, with three strikeouts. The loss was charged to Barreda.

With the win, Israel advances to Monday's quarterfinals and will meet the winner of the Dominican Republic-Korea matchup at 12:00 pm JST.

Mexico leaves the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with an 0-3 record.