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WBC 2017 Semifinals: Team USA beats Japan, advances to Finals for the first time

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PHOTOGRAPH: Twitter/@WBCBaseball | World Baseball Classic

The United States beat Japan 2-1 at the Dodger Stadium on Tuesday to make it to the World Baseball Classic (WBC 2017) final for the first time in the country’s history. Adam Jones was clutch hitting a ground ball that allowed Brandon Crawford to get the lead for the Americans.

“We’re one game away from doing something we’ve never done before. This is awesome to have the opportunity to be here,” Team USA’s outfielder Andrew McCutchen stated post-match.

WBC 2017: USA vs. Puerto Rico in final

The Americans will face a Puerto Rican team that has not lost in this WBC 2017. The championship game is set on Wednesday. Puerto Rico, which has seven wins in seven games so far, beat the Netherlands 4-3 in another close match. Puerto Rico made the championship round in 2013 but lost to the Dominican Republic.

Team USA used seven pitchers against a potent Japan team known for their offense. Japan was undefeated before the match-up against the Americans on Tuesday. They gave the Americans lots of trouble in the semifinals match-up and the match could have gone either way.

Tanner Roark started in just his second appearance in this tournament and gave up two hits and no runs in four innings. Meanwhile, Luke Gregerson played in the crucial ninth inning and recorded his third save in the World Cup of baseball.

The Americans got the 1-0 lead in the fourth inning courtesy of an RBI single from Andrew McCutchen. The Japanese responded with their own score courtesy of a home run from Ryosuke Kikuchi in the sixth inning.

Team USA’s winning run was made possible when Crawford singled off Kodai Senga in the eighth inning and Ian Kinsler made a double. Adam Jones played the ball beautifully for the game-winning hit.

WBC 2017: USA aiming for the first title in tournament history

“We don’t focus on who’s not here we focus on who is here,” McCutchen added. “Hopefully in the near future guys will want to play more after they see what we’re doing now.”

For the first time in World Baseball Classic history, the Americans will be in the championship game. Puerto Rico already beat Team USA in this tournament winning 6-5 last Friday in the group stages of the WBC 2017.

The Americans have a tough task ahead with Puerto Rico considered the favorites to win the WBC 2017 title this year. The best finish for Team USA is in 2009 when they ended up fourth overall.

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