Dominican Republic Rallies Past South Korea To Win Bronze Medal
Juan Francisco hit the tiebreaking two-run double as the Dominican Republic scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning, and the D.R. rallied to beat South Korea, 10-6, in the bronze medal game of the Summer Olympics.
The Dominican Republic trailed 6-5 entering the eighth inning before scoring five runs against South Korea relief ace Seung-Hwan Oh. Jumbo Diaz closed it out for the Dominicans in the ninth to secure the bronze medal, the first Olympic medal the D.R. has ever won in baseball.
The rally capped a tense, back-and-forth affair that ended with the Dominicans streaming onto the field and celebrating wildly after the final out.
The Dominican Republic jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but South Korea rallied to pull ahead 6-5 in the fifth. That’s where the score remained heading into the eighth when the Dominicans staged one final rally with their medal hopes hanging in the balance.
The D.R. quickly loaded the bases with one out and Oh uncorked a wild pitch to allow Jeison Guzman to trot home from third with the tying run. Francisco followed with a thunderous, opposite-field double into the left-center gap to give the D.R. an 8-6 lead and Johan Mieses capped the scoring with a long two-run homer down the left-field line that knocked Oh from the game.
South Korea failed to respond in the bottom of the eighth but threatened in the bottom of the ninth. The first two Korean batters reached base to start a potential comeback, but Diaz entered and promptly retired the next three hitters to secure the first Olympic medal in D.R. baseball history.
Francisco went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBIs and Julio Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The duo hit back-to-back homers in the top of the first inning to stake the D.R. to its early lead.
Melky Cabrera went 4-for-5 and Mieses finished 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored. The Dominicans pounded out 14 hits as eight of their nine starters reached base.
South Korea failed to medal after winning gold at the 2008 Olympics, the last time baseball was played in the Summer Games.
Hae-Min Park went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored and Hyun-Soo Kim went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Baek-Ho Kang, the 22-year-old first baseman considered the top MLB prospect in South Korea, went 2-for-4 and singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning that briefly put Korea up 6-5.