YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Mike Scioscia is one win from matching mentor Tommy Lasorda, the most handy supervisor to lead the US to a baseball gold medal.
Host Japan, which stopped its predominant league season at some stage in the Tokyo Olympics, is the favourite in Saturday’s gold medal sport (6 a.m. EDT).
Scioscia’s crew, a combination of possibilities largely from Double-A, occupation minor leaguers and released veterans, overcame a blown ninth-inning lead in a 7-6, 10-inning loss to Japan to attain the closing by beating the Dominican Republic 3-1 and South Korea 7-2.
“I believe that you just would possibly perhaps perhaps behold at lots of the unfavorable issues that perhaps aren’t occurring as far as COVID; obviously we’re all involved with that, no longer having any freedom, no longer having any followers in the stands, free to head peek some occasions,” Scioscia acknowledged. “We can discuss about some issues in the unfavorable, but the backside line is, it says USA across our jersey and these guys are taking half in for a gold medal this weekend. Doesn’t acquire any better that.”
Slit Martinez begins for the U.S. The 31-yr-used factual-hander pitched for Texas from 2014-17, then spent three seasons with the Pacific League’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Opponents sooner than switching this season to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Martinez got the hole-round win over South Korea, allowing one flee and 4 hits in 5 innings with nine strikeouts. He is acquainted with Yokohama Stadium from his time in Japan.
“Taking half in at this area positively helps,” he acknowledged. “I indubitably feel cheerful.”
Japan (5-0), making an are trying for its first baseball gold medal, is batting .288, 2nd to South Korea’s .294. The U.S. (4-1) is third at .247 with a tournament-high seven house runs — collectively with three by Boston prospect Triston Casas. American batters beget struck out 50 occasions, diagram over the 36 for contact-centered Japan.
U.S. pitchers lead with a 2.18 ERA and Japan is third at 3.65.
Scioscia credited his roster’s mix.
“These guys are composed very, very honest aged players. Peep at Scott Kazmir. Peep at Brandon Dickson. Peep at Todd Frazier, Edwin Jackson,” he acknowledged. “We’ve got lots of pups right here.”
Jamie Westbrook, a 26-yr-used left fielder, hit a protracted house flee against South Korea for his first RBI and is hitting .389.
An All-Superstar in the Double-A Southern League in 2018 and 2019, he left the Arizona Diamondbacks organization to signal with San Francisco for the 2020 season. Then, when Predominant League Baseball canceled its minor league season attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, he signed with the Sugar Land Lightning Sloths of the impartial Constellation Energy League and wasn’t positive whether he’d beget a future in affiliated baseball.
He began this season at Milwaukee’s Triple-A Nashville, changed into once demoted to Double-A Biloxi, then returned to Nashville in June. He known because it “a whirlwind of emotion.”
“COVID roughly messed issues up for lots of youth leaguers,” he acknowledged. “I came across myself in indy ball, a bid most folk don’t have to be, and I truly came across myself. I got relief into the infield, and it changed into once a chance for me to better myself. … I began having enjoyable, perfect esteem commute ball whereas you’re growing up.”
Lasorda, who died in January at age 93, changed into once Scioscia’s supervisor with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1980-92 and led the U.S. to the 2000 gold medal in Sydney. Ben Sheets pitched a three-hit total sport in a 4-0 win in the closing, stopping Cuba’s 21-sport Olympic winning trail. Mike Neill hit a first-inning homer, Pat Borders an RBI double and Ernie Younger a two-flee, bases-loaded single.
Scioscia order managing in the Olympics is more the same to the closing day of the exceptional season with a postseason berth at stake or a wild-card playoff, dissimilar to a 5- or seven-sport postseason series.
“This total tournament is as intense as the leisure I’ve been segment of in 19 years of managing with the Angels or taking half in in I don’t know what number of playoff video games with the Dodgers,” he acknowledged. “There’s an intensity right here. There’s a focus. And I’m tickled with those guys for taking half in so successfully beneath circumstances, of, howdy, you would possibly want to always win. And I hope it strikes their occupation forward and I hope they drag accessible and to boot they’re going to play on the extent to position a gold medal around their necks.”
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