The national baseball team begins its way to the Olympics today when the Dominican Republic team faces the opening day of the Pre-Olympic Championships of the Americas, at Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Left shooter Luis Leroy Cruz will climb the hill in the first match scheduled at 1:00 PM
“I am so happy and grateful for the opportunity they gave me; for the confidence they gave me. We prepared well and studied the Dominican Republic team. We are ready for that great day, for this great match. We are going to put on a really great performance,” said Cruz, 30.
The veteran shooter knows a Dominican ninth well. In the last season 2020-2021 of this country’s winter ball, Cruz played for Tigres del Licey. He also has experience with Lions Al Mukhtar in 2019.
“It gives me more confidence,” Cruz admitted. “I know a lot about the Dominican team, I have a plan. It motivates me and it motivates the men. The confidence they have given me is the best. We have worked hard in the last few months and they will notice it when they turn on the lights and play the” game ball “.
Previous major tournaments are being led by the Dominican Republic, Emilio Bonifacio, Milky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and prospective Seattle Mariners goalkeeper Julio Y Rodriguez.
The last time the novenas met in a similar tournament was in the preliminary round of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, where Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic 2-1, in ten rounds, on their way to the gold, their last title. In a major competition.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rican captain Juan “Igor” Gonzales highlighted Cruz’s qualities by choosing him as the first archer in Puerto Rico’s rotation in the qualifying tournament that will award a live ticket.
“Luis LeRoy Cruz plays in the Dominican Republic. He knows them. He is an aggressive shooter with good resources and the left-handers is more annoying. Hopefully six or seven rounds will do the job for me so that the relay later does the rest,” he emphasized.
Gonzales confirmed that Puerto Rico’s ninth team is well prepared and confident that despite the quality it will be, it will play a good tournament.
The superstar would face this tournament with the potential to become the first Puerto Rican captain – with an impressive career in the major leagues – to successfully complete the Olympic Games after the gold medals at Barranquilla 2018 and Lima 2019.
“It would be an incredible personal gratification. These guys will give their all. There is excellent chemistry and the bond is incredible. I have faith in the possibility of doing this. Yes difficult, but impossible, no,” he admitted.
Puerto Rico comes in the first group along with the United States and Nicaragua, while the second group consists of Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia.
Puerto Rico’s second match tomorrow at 1:00 pm against Nicaragua at The Ballpark in West Palm Beach. The Puerto Rican national team concludes the first round on Wednesday at 7:00 pm in front of the United States in Port St. Lucie.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the last time baseball was in the Olympic program.
Puerto Ricans appeared in 1992, when baseball debuted at the Olympics, and took fifth place. They have won two of their seven preliminary round matches, including a 7-5 win over the Dominican Republic, which has finished sixth in their only Olympic appearance to date.