The Dominican Republic scored six runs in the fourth inning en route to an 8-5 victory over Venezuela to win the final World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) playoff and advance to Olympic game ball for the second time in their history. .
The Dominican Republic, whose only previous experience in Olympic baseball dates back to Barcelona ’92, will face the United States, South Korea, Israel, Mexico and Japan in the Tokyo 2020 tournament, scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 7 in Yokohama and Fukushima.
In the last WBSC qualifier, at the Hermanos Serdán stadium in Puebla, Mexico, the Netherlands also participated, while due to the coronavirus pandemic, Australia, China and Taiwan chose not to attend. The Dominican Republic had a 3-0 record, Venezuela 2-2 and the Netherlands 0-3.
A three-run home run by right fielder Diego Rincones against right-hander Radhamés Liz in the second inning put Venezuela in command of the game, 3-0. In the third inning, Rincones flied out to right field with bases loaded and two outs against reliever Jhan Maríñez, an action that proved important later on.
At the end of that episode, veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera greeted reliever Eduardo Paredes with a two-run homer that brought the Quisqueyan troop close to 3-2. Venezuelan starter Yapson Gómez left the match leaving Emilio Bonifacio in circulation, who scored in front of Cabrera.
In the fourth inning, first baseman Juan Francisco, left fielder Johan Mieses, third baseman Diego Goris (double), shortstop Ramón Torres, catcher Charlie Valerio and second baseman Gustavo Núñez hit back-to-back hits to lead a six-run rally that put the Dominican Republic ahead, 8-3, for the first time in the afternoon.
Goris, Torres, Valerio, Núñez (2) and Bonifacio, with a sacrifice fly, scored RBIs in the rally. Francisco, Goris and Valerio each had two hits, while Cabrera and Núñez scored a pair of head RBIs.
After Liz allowed three runs in 2.2 innings, the Dominican bullpen held Venezuela to one round in 6.1 innings. Maríñez (0.2), Dario Álvarez (1.0), Luis Felipe Castillo (1 run in 2.2 innings), Marcos Diplán (1.0 inning) and closer Jairo Asencio (1 run in the 9th) relieved for the team led by Héctor Borg . Álvarez was the winning pitcher.
For Venezuela, Harold Chirinos, who allowed four runs without getting an out in the fourth inning, was the defeated pitcher. Diego Rincones drove in three runs and outfielder Alexander Palma had three hits.
This was the third game between the two great powers of baseball in the last three weeks. The Dominican Republic won 14-4 on June 4 in the super round of the American pre-Olympic in Florida and then 10-7 last Tuesday, in the first match of the playoff in Puebla.