Olympic Baseball 2021: USA vs. DR Set for Chance to Clinch Spot in SemifinalsAugust 3, 2021
Jose Bautista was benched and hitless for these Olympics, with his days as one of MLB's most feared sluggers far behind him.
Then he came up to bat with his country's tournament life at stake and found glory.
Bautista hit a walk-off single in the ninth inning to complete the Dominican Republic's comeback and give them a 6-5 win over Israel on Tuesday in the first repechage matchup at the 2021 Summer Olympics.
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The Dominican Republic advances to play the United States in the second repechage game. While the word "repechage" may be unfamiliar to most American audiences, it essentially means double elimination for these purposes.
The United States and Dominican Republic have both dropped a game in the knockout phase but remain in contention for a gold medal if they go undefeated the rest of the way. The winner of Tuesday's United States vs. Dominican Republic repechage will advance to play the loser of the South Korea vs. Japan semifinal.
The first repechage was a back-and-forth affair between the Dominican Republic and Israel, featuring four lead changes in the fifth inning or later.
Israel got things going with a four-run fifth that briefly allowed them to take a 4-2 lead—one that was erased an inning later and then overtaken in the seventh. Danny Valencia's two-run home run put Israel back ahead 6-5 in the eighth, where the score stayed stagnant until the bottom of the ninth.
Johan Mieses hit a solo shot off Zack Weiss to lead off in the ninth before Bautista came through to score Gustavo Nunez with two outs.
Luis Castillo, who pitched a scoreless ninth, received the win for the Dominicans.