Colombia clinched men’s baseball gold at the Pan American Games for the first time in Santiago, dominating the final against Brazil.
The two nations were surprise finalists, with Colombia’s only previous baseball medal at the Games a bronze on home soil in Cali in 1971 and Brazil never having made the podium.
Brazil had beaten their opponents 3-1 in their opening Group B match, and topped the Super Round, despite losing to Mexico in their final match yesterday.
However, they failed to find their top form in the final, and it was Colombia who came away with gold at the Parque Bicentenario de Cerrillos in a tournament lacking defending champions Puerto Rico and the United States and Canada.
Colombia had a 2-1 lead going into the fourth inning, in which they took control of the contest by extending their advantage to 5-1 through centre fielder Jesús Marriaga, first baseman Leandro Emiliani and second baseman José Ramos.
Dilson Herrera and Fabián Pertuz added two more runs in the sixth inning, and Leandro Emiliani completed the scoring in the seventh.
Mexico earned a first Pan American Games medal since Rio de Janeiro 2007 in baseball, thrashing Panama 10-2 in the bronze medal playoff.
A six-run contribution in the fourth inning proved decisive for Mexico, putting them 7-0 in front to effectively put the contest beyond their opponents, despite getting off the mark through two runs from Jhonny Santos and Abraham Rodríguez in the fifth.
The 12-time winners Cuba missed out on a medal for the second consecutive Games after placing third in Group A and losing the fifth-place match 5-4 to the Dominican Republic.
Women’s softball is due to start tomorrow, in which those three nations medalled at Lima 2019 and are all competing again in Chile’s capital.
The US are the defending champions and nine-time winners, but their gold streak was interrupted by Canada’s success at their home Games in Toronto in 2015.
Puerto Rico have won the bronze medal at the last two editions.
The US have been pitted against hosts Chile, Mexico and Venezuela in Group A, while Canada and Puerto Rico line-up alongside Cuba and Peru in Group B.
The tournament is set to use the same format as the men’s baseball, with the top two in each group advancing to the Super Round, in which teams face opponents they are yet to play and the top two reach the final.
Baseball and softball is set for an Olympic return at Los Angeles 2028 having been chosen as an additional sport.
It featured at Tokyo 2020 for the first time since Beijing 2008, but missed out on Paris 2024.
Source : Inside The Games