02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019

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II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

Navarro singles in extras, brings Mexico to the 2020 Olympics

Navarro singles in extras, brings Mexico to the 2020 Olympics
17/11/2019
Matthew Clark tied the game on a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, the first baseman brought tie-break rule runner Salazar home after a neverending duel with reliever Thielbar

First baseman Efren Navarro singled on a broken-bat blooper in the bottom of the tenth off left handed reliever Caleb Thielbar to bring home Javier Salazar. Mexico beat the USA, 3-2, to earn the WBSC Premier12 bronze medal and the spot of the Americas Region in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Navarro fouled off as many as four consecutive pitches before looking at a ball. He singled on the eighth offering of his at-bat after going 0-for-4 and striking out three times in the game.

"It was a very important at-bat and I'm grateful that I had this chance," said Efren Navarro to Jon Morosi after the game. "You must credit all of the team for this accomplishment. The pitchers, Matt Clark, who kept us in the game with his home run."

Mexico's manager Juan Castro decided to bunt in the bottom of the tenth despite having red-hot Jonathan Jones at the plate.

"Jones is the best hitter on the team," commented Castro during the post-game press conference.

"I needed the small ball there and I was confident he could move the runners also with a two-strike count."

The center fielder went down 0-2 in the count against Brandon Dickson, then advanced the tie-break runners to second and third with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. The USA walked second baseman Esteban Quiroz to load the bases, then went to the bullpen.
Left-handed batter Navarro got the game winning-hit off left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar.

The same approach hadn't proved successful for the USA in the top half of the inning. Manager Scott Brosius got a perfect sacrifice bunt from Bobby Dalbec, the same hitter who had put the USA ahead in the top of the seventh.

Mexico's reliever Carlos Bustamante intentionally walked right fielder Rooker to load the bases. He then struck out third baseman Alec Bohm on a breaking ball outside and got out of the inning as shortstop Jake Cronenworth popped out to shortstop.

The USA came just three out short of the win. Noah Song allowed only a walk in 1.1 innings and handed the ball to closer Brandon Dickson with a one-run lead to work with in the bottom of the ninth. Designated hitter Matthew Clark homered on the third pitch to tie the game.

"I was looking for something high in the zone," said Clark after being awarded as the Hublot Player of the Game "He hanged a split-finger and I was fortunate enough to make the most of it."

Carlos Bustamante earned the win as the sixth pitcher to step to the mound for Mexico. Juan Castro used three more relievers after starter Arturo Reyes: Brennan Bernardino, Jesus Rios and Eduardo Vera.







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