Baseball’s return to the Olympics will include a team from the U.S.
The Americans clinched a trip to the Tokyo games with a 4-2 victory over Venezuela on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Team USA went 4-0 in the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier.
Todd Frazier and Eric Filia homered for a veteran U.S. squad in the clincher. Edwin Jackson earned the win in relief and David Robertson got the save.
“Playing for your country, it’s the coolest thing in the world,” Frazier told reporters after the win, per The Associated Press.
Team USA was managed by Mike Scioscia, who compared the competition this week to “playing five elimination games in the playoffs or a pennant race, and you can’t stub your toe, at all.”
Baseball is an Olympic sport for the first time since 2008, when South Korea defeated Cuba for the gold in Beijing. Team USA joins host Japan, Israel, South Korea and Mexico in the field. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, the teams that finished right behind the U.S. in Florida, will try to secure the sixth and final berth at a tournament June 22-26 in Pueblo, Mexico.
The Olympic tournament will begin July 28 and end Aug. 7.
“To finish maybe my career, maybe winning the gold medal,” Frazier, 35, told the AP, “God Almighty, that would be the best icing on the cake.”