In the opening match of the final Olympic Qualifier, the Dominican Republic stayed at the right side of the score as they beat Venezuela 10-7.
In a seesaw game Venezuela scored a run in each of the first seven innings. As a result, it took the lead twice. The Dominican Republic on the other hand, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, a 2-1 lead in the second inning, and a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning.
But the decisive blow came in the seventh, when the Dominicans scored five runs. Back-to-back-to-back home runs by Juan Francisco, Johan Mieses, and Diego Goris, drove in four runs. The fifth run came on a fielding error by the Venezuelan shortstop, that allowed Emilio Bonifacio to reach first base safely and Gustavo Nuńez to score from second, where he had gotten on a double down the left field line.
In the remaining two innings, neither team did score. The six dingers that Venezuela hit (all solo shots), compared to the “only” four homers by the Dominicans, didn’t prevent them from falling to the Dominicans.
Both teams used seven pitchers. Erick Alejandro Leal Plaza pitched four solid innings for Venezuela, in which he allowed two runs. But in the fifth, he could not record an out and was tabbed for three more runs. Dominican starter Reynel Espinel lasted only three innings in which he gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits.
The win went to Jhan Martinez, who pitched 1.2 innings and gave up one run on one hit and struck out three. Luis Madero took the loss. After a scoreless sixth inning, he gave up three runs in the seventh without recording an out.
Juan Francisco was the best hitter for the Dominicans. He went 3 for 5 with a home run, five RBI and a run scored.
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