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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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    Japan takes gold from Team USA in baseball’s return to Olympics

    Yokohama, Japan — Mike Scioscia led his group of players, probably the last group of his long baseball career, out to home plate for handshakes Saturday night.

    The United States Olympic baseball team, freshly devastated, lined up behind him to meet Japan’s gold medal-winning team. The Americans gritted their teeth, smiled and congratulated the Japanese. Then they walked off the field at Yokohama Stadium while their opponents punctuated their victory with a doh-age on the mound, tossing their manager in the air in celebration.

    The U.S. was the only team to give Japan a scare in the Olympic baseball tournament, the only one to dent the host country’s armor. But for the second time in less than a week, this time for the gold medal, they couldn’t topple the Japanese, dropping the final, 2-0.

    “They deserved to win,” Scioscia said.

    The Americans were seeking their first baseball gold since 2000. They settled for their first silver and their third medal in baseball since it became an official Olympic sport at the 1992 Games. Baseball was dropped from the Games in 2012 and 2016. They finished the tournament 4-2.

    The result was a breakthrough for Japan. The baseball-fixated nation had never won gold, earning silver once and bronze twice. Earlier in the day, the Dominican Republic, another baseball power, claimed its first Olympic medal in the sport by beating South Korea, 10-6.

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