The U.S. baseball team had one option on Monday night if it wanted to stay in the hunt for one of the two Olympic berths at stake at the WBSC Premier12: win.
Facing the Dominican Republic in the final game of group stage play in Guadalajara, Mexico, with the winner moving on and the loser going home, Team USA won 10-8 to earn its ticket to the Super Round later this month in Tokyo.
Outfielder Jo Adell, the top prospect of the Los Angeles Angels and the No. 5-ranked prospect overall by MLB Pipeline, was 2-for-5 with two RBI and third baseman Alec Bohm, the No. 34 prospect overall who’s in the Philadelphia Phillies system, was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a home run to highlight the performances of some of the major-league stars of tomorrow.
The U.S. roster does not include any players currently on 40-man MLB rosters. After beating the Netherlands on Saturday and losing to Mexico on Sunday, the U.S. needed to win in order to be among the top two teams advancing out of the pool.
The top team from the Americas region, which includes Mexico, the U.S., Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba and Canada, will earn a spot in the six-team Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 tournament as baseball makes its return to the Games after a 12-year absence. Mexico has advanced, along with the U.S., as the winner of Group A. The other two groups begin play Tuesday.
Mark Payton led off with a solo home run in the first inning and Jacob Cronenworth followed suit in the second to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. The offense was just getting started for both teams at that point. Alec Bohm drove in Eric Kratz with a double and Adell drove in another run to make it 4-0.
The Dominican Republic cut the lead in half but Bohm wasn’t done with his double. He crushed a three-run home run to right field to make it 7-2 and Bobby Dalbec drove in another. Kratz hit his second opposite-field home run to make it 9-3 heading to the bottom of the fifth.
The Dominican Republic wasn’t going out without a fight, however, with a four-run fifth inning to cut the lead to two, but Adell knocked in an insurance run with a single to right field in the eighth inning to make it 10-7.
The Dominican Republic had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the ninth but Brandon Dickson, who came in to close it out, shut the door on the opponent's hopes.
Parker Dunshee started on the mound for the U.S. and gave up two runs on one hit in 2 1/3 innings. Wyatt Mills highlighted the effort of six pitchers in relief, throwing two perfect innings with two strikeouts to cool off the Dominican bats.