Korea heads into Olympic quarterfinals with walk-off win over Dominican Republic

Korea heads into Olympic quarterfinals with walk-off win over Dominican Republic
01/08/2021
The 2015 WBSC Premier12 MVP Hyun-Soo Kim delivered the game-winning single to right field in the bottom of the ninth.

Hyun-Soo Kim hit a laser to right field to cap off a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to give world No. 3 Korea a 4-3 walk-off win over No. 7 Dominican Republic in the knockout stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Baseball tournament Sunday night at Yokohama Stadium.

Korean starter Eui-lee Lee allowed the first run of the game before recording the first out of the contest. Consecutive singles by Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera put quickly runners in the corners, and Bonifacio scored on a wild pitch. Lee got himself out of trouble with strikeouts to Julio Rodriguez and Jose Bautista, and a fly ball by Juan Francisco.

In the home half of the first, Korea loaded the bases with no outs, thanks to a single, a double and a walk from their first three batters: Hae-Min Park, Baekho Kang and Jung-Hoo Lee. A sacrifice fly by catcher and clean-up hitter Euiji Yang to right field tied the game at one. Dominican starter Raul Valdez struck out the next two batters to limit the damage.

In the top of the fourth inning, with a runner on base, Juan Francisco crushed a Lee pitch and watched it hit off the scoreboard in center field. Francisco’s monster bomb was his team’s first home run of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Dominican starter Valdez used 111 pitches to toss 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and one run, while striking out five with three walks. 

Righty Denyi Reyes got two outs in the sixth, while Dario Alvarez and José Diaz pitched cleaned seventh and eighth innings to hold the two-run lead and leave the game in the hands of Luis Castillo, who collected the save in Friday’s Dominican Republic win over Mexico.

However, the right-hander couldn’t secure the win. He gave up a leadoff single to pinch hitter Joh-Wan Choi, and Hae-Min Park reduced the deficit to one run with an RBI single to left field. Jung-Hoo Lee tied the game with a double to the left and finally, one out later, Hyun-Soo Kim delivered the game-winning single to right field.

The winning pitcher was Seunghwan Oh, the fifth Korean reliever in the game, who tossed a six-pitch perfect ninth. 

Korea will meet Israel on Monday at noon (JST) in the quarterfinals. The Dominican Republic will continue play in the loser's bracket, awaiting the loser of the game between Korea and Israel.