Colombia strike gold on Pan Am Games diamond

SANTIAGO: Colombia struck gold on the diamond, winning the men's baseball final at the Pan American Games yesterday while Brazil ruled the top of podium on the judo mat and the tennis court.

Unfancied Colombia thumped Brazil 9-1 to be crowned baseball champions for the first time, capping a wild and unpredictable tournament that saw traditional powers Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Puerto Rico all fall short.

With the United States and Canada, champions in 2011 and 2015, not entering teams, the battle for podium places was expected to come down to Cuba, winners of 10 straight gold from the 1971 Games, holders Puerto Rico and Mexico.

But in the end it was two teams that had never before even reached the final playing for gold, while Mexico beat Panama 10-2 for the bronze.

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Colombians put the contest out of reach with a three-run fourth inning burst, then added insurance bringing across a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and another in the seventh.

Dilson Jose Herrera, who spent time in the major leagues with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles, had three of Colombia's 17 hits, driving in a pair of runs, while righthander Victor Vargas worked four solid innings on the mound, giving up one run with three strikeouts.

While Brazil settled for silver at the ball park, they were golden at the judo competition, with Alexia Vilhalba Souza Nascimento (women's 48kg), Larissa Cincinato (52kg women), Rafaela Lopes Silva (women's 57kg) and Michel Natan Felix Augusto (men's 60kg) all claiming titles.

Brazil also bagged two of three gold on the tennis court.

Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani beat Colombia's Fernanda Herazo and Paulina Perez 7-5 6-3 to win the women's doubles, while Gustavo Heide and Marcelo Demoliner defeated Chile's Tomas Parrios and Alejandor Tabilo 6-1 2-6 10-7 in the men's doubles final.

Colombia prevented a perfect night for the Brazilians when Yuliana Lizarazo and Nicolas Barrientos beat Brazil's Stefani and Demoliner 6-3 6-4 to take the mixed doubles crown.

Once again the mighty United States was shut out of the gold medals but continue to hold strong at the top of the table on 61 gold and 154 total medals.

Mexico sit second on 35 gold and 84 total medals followed by Canada (32/88) and Brazil (26/87).

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