USA Baseball is two wins away from Tokyo.
The United States, along with Venezuela, Canada and the Dominican Republic, advanced to the final “Super Round” of the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier, taking place through Saturday in Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The U.S. went undefeated in the group stage, scoring victories over Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic before its final game against Puerto Rico was rained out with the U.S. leading 6-1 in the fifth inning.
In addition to advancement, the Americans also secured a head start in the Super Round standings. Their 8-6 group stage victory over the Dominican Republic carries over into the Super Round, according to the WBSC tournament format.
As a result, just Canada and Venezuela stand in way of U.S. qualification. The U.S. takes on Canada on Friday (June 4) and Venezuela on Saturday (June 5). First pitch for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Because the Super Round functions essentially as another group stage rather than a single-elimination knockout round, a loss in either game is not necessarily terminal to USA Baseball’s Olympic hopes. The team with the best record after all four Super Round games take place will become Olympians.
The teams that finish second and third will also remain alive in the chase for Tokyo. Those nations will secure a place in the WBSC Final Baseball Qualifier, essentially a “last chance” tournament for national teams across the world, taking place in Mexico June 22-26.