Olympic Baseball 2021: Dominican Republic Beats South Korea to Win Bronze Medal

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 7, 2021

Dominican Republic's Juan Ramon Francisco Gonzalez, front and Raul Valdes, celebrate after the bronze medal baseball game against South Korea at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. The Dominican Republic won 10-6. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Dominican Republic scored five runs in the eighth inning to surge past South Korea in a 10-6 win Saturday to capture the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics' baseball tournament.

Juan Francisco, Johan Mieses, Julio Rodriguez all homered as the Dominican Republic captured its first baseball medal at the Olympics. Its previous best finish was sixth in 1992.

South Korea reached the semifinals with just one loss in the event before dropping three straight games, including losses to Japan and the United States, to miss the podium after winning gold the last time baseball was contested in the Summer Games in 2008.

The Dominican Republic jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first powered by back-to-back homers by Rodriguez and Francisco.

South Korea slowly chipped away at the advantage with single runs in the second and fourth before taking the lead with four runs in the fifth.

Jeison Guzman jumpstarted the eighth-inning rally for the Dominicans with a leadoff single. The key hits in the inning were a two-RBI double by Francisco and a two-run homer by Mieses.

South Korea tried to mount a ninth-inning comeback with two straight hits by Hye-seong Kim and Hae-Min Park, but Dominican Republic closer Jose Diaz came on to record three straight outs for the save to secure the bronze medal.

"I can't tell you what would have happened in bygone years, but I do feel a deep sense of pride, and we're very, very satisfied that we achieved a bronze medal," Dominican manager Hector Borg told reporters.

He added: "That is also what makes our country so special, it is that happiness."

Francisco paced the Dominican Republic offense, which racked up 14 hits, with three RBI.

The victory also avenged a loss to South Korea in the first game of the knockout stages for the D.R., which becomes the seventh different country to win an Olympic baseball medal.