Mexico win takes Korea closer to Tokyo 2020Mexico defeated Australia 3-0 at an Olympic baseball qualifying tournament in Japan on Tuesday, helping nudge Korea closer to a place in the 2020 Summer Games in the process.
Mexico enjoyed its second straight shutout victory in its second Super Round game at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Tuesday, behind solo home runs by Jonathan Jones in the first and Matthew Clark in the fourth. Jones had another RBI with a double in the fourth.
The Premier12 is also the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Asia/Oceania and the Americas. From the Super Round, only the top teams from those two regions will lock down their Olympic berths.
In the Super Round, Korea must finish higher than Australia and Chinese Taipei to qualify for Tokyo 2020, with Japan, another Asian entrant in the Super Round, already in the Olympics as the host country.
Head-to-head records in the group play between Super Round-bound teams were carried over to this stage. For instance, Korea and Australia opened the Super Round with one win and one loss already in the bag, respectively, because of Korea’s 5-0 win over Australia in Group C last Wednesday.
Australia has now lost two straight games in the Super Round and sits at 0-3 overall to fall further out of Olympic contention.
Korea will move closer to the Olympic spot by defeating Chinese Taipei later Tuesday at Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, just east of Tokyo.
A win Tuesday will move Korea to 3-0 overall, while Chinese Taipei will join Australia at 0-3. The game was not complete as of press time.
But there is still a possibility that Korea and Chinese Taipei will be in third and fourth places after four Super Round games, in which case they will square off again in the third-place contest on Sunday in Tokyo. The winner of that game will earn the Olympic spot.
Mexico, with two straight wins in the Super Round to move to 3-0 overall, is on the verge of beating the United States to the lone American spot at stake at the Premier12.
The United States lost to Korea 5-1 on Monday and sits at 0-2 overall with three games to play. The United States must win all remaining games to stay alive in the battle.