23/09/2021 - 02/10/2021

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III U-23 Baseball World Cup 2020 - Official Payoff

Mexico beats Colombia, will defend U-23 Baseball World Title in the final

Mexico beats Colombia, will defend U-23 Baseball World Title in the final
02/10/2021
A solo home run by Tirso Ornelas made the difference in the sixth inning. Mexico will face Venezuela at 7.30 pm on Saturday 2 October.

With one mighty swing, Tirso Ornelas cracked through all the tension an October baseball game could have and sent his team on to defend its U-23 world championship.

San Diego Padres prospect Ornelas belted a tiebreaking home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning as world No. 5 Mexico came from behind to beat No. 15 Colombia, 3-2, on Friday night at Estadio Sonora. With the win, Mexico will face No. 10 Venezuela in Saturday night’s World Championship Final with the U-23 Baseball World Cup title on the line.

Ornelas’s blast was the culmination of a pressure-packed back-and-forth affair in which he played the role of hero. The big left fielder got his team started with the first lead of the night on an RBI single to left field in the bottom of the first inning as Mexico chased Colombia starting pitcher Jorge Martinez just four batters into the game. In that frame, however, the home team left two men in scoring position and scored only one.

Colombia responded in the third. Rafael Romero reached to lead off the inning on a missed catch error by Mexico right fielder Agustin Ruiz, and Gustavo Campero followed with a bunt single. Jordan Diaz cashed in Ruiz with an RBI single to left, and Angulo did the same to bring home Campero and give Colombia the lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Mexico drew even on a gutsy play on the bases. With two outs and runners at the corners, Eric Meza broke from second base, drawing Colombia relief pitcher Luis De Avila off the rubber. With De Avila’s focus on Meza, Keven Lamas took off from third and slid in with the game-tying run before De Avila was tagged out to end the inning.

De Avila otherwise had been strong out of the bullpen and entered his fifth inning on the mound in the sixth. Ornelas ambushed the first pitch the left-hander hurled in his final frame and belted it over the right-field wall to give Mexico the lead back.

Juan Robles made the homer stand. After retiring Colombia in order in the sixth, Robles earned the save in the sixth, stranding a runner on and striking out the final two batters he saw to pitch Mexico into Saturday’s finale.

"I feel so happy, so grateful that I cannot put it into words," said Robles after the game. "Playing the final makes me feel emotional."

Colombia is on to face world No. 11 Cuba in the bronze medal game from 13:00 on Saturday while Mexico and Venezuela will square off for the title of U-23 world champion from 19:30.

"We played five good innings against them, but one bad inning cost us the game," commented Mexico's manager Enrique Reyes. "They are a solid team. We will need to play at our best."