The Road to Tokyo Began in The Palm Beaches
Team USA has won the silver medal for baseball at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 following a 2-0 defeat to Japan in the finals at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on Saturday. The U.S. qualified for the Olympics in an eight-nation tournament held in part in The Palm Beaches.
For the Americans, the road to Tokyo began in The Palm Beaches. Earlier this summer, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission hosted the Baseball Americas Qualifier for the XXXII Olympiad at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach. Eight national teams, including the U.S., Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Canada, and Colombia, competed for one spot in this summer’s Olympics. The U.S. earned their spot in Tokyo after an impressive 5-0 run.
The home for the Baseball Americas Qualifier was Palm Beach County’s newest professional baseball facility, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Two recent World Series champions, the Houston Astros (2017) and Washington Nationals (2019) call the Ballpark home each year for their Major League Baseball Spring Training games. Many elite baseball events have also been played at the park including the Perfect Game USA 14U Florida Showcase, Baseball Canada Junior Nationals, Palm Beach Classic, and the World Comes to The Palm Beaches.
The ballpark contains a total of 13 MLB fields and five multipurpose athletic fields which are covered in beautiful Bermuda grass and cater to soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby, and more. Among the eclectic events that the venue has hosted are Battlepark Mixed Martial Arts, SoFlo Turkey Shootout in lacrosse, The Palm Beach Cup in soccer, and Sunshine Games Ultimate Frisbee.
The journey to an Olympic medal in Tokyo saw the Americans battle with the world’s best baseball teams. Playing out of Group B against Israel and South Korea, the U.S. emerged undefeated after allowing just three runs in two games. The team’s first taste of adversity came in the knockout stage when they fell 7-6 to Japan. The Olympic baseball tournament employs a double elimination system which allowed the U.S. to keep their gold medal dreams alive in a win-or-go-home game versus the Dominican Republic. The U.S. pulled out a tight 3-1 win and subsequently trounced South Korea 7-2 to earn a second chance at playing Japan.
In Saturday’s action, five Japanese pitchers combined for a six-hit shutout. The win marks Japan’s first gold medal and fourth overall Olympic baseball medal. The United States adds a silver medal to an all-time baseball medal count of four.
Saturday’s final marked the fourth time the U.S. played in an Olympic gold medal game in its history (1984, 1988, 2000), having won gold in the two most recent appearances.
Additionally, Team USA’s Eddy Alvarez became just the sixth athlete all-time to win an Olympic medal in both the Summer and Winter Games. He is just the third American athlete to achieve the feat, following Eddie Egan (1920, 1932) and Lauryn Williams (2004, 2012, 2014). Alvarez won a silver medal in men’s short track speed skating in 2014.
Watch the video below to see the moment Team USA earned its spot in Tokyo!