Team USA baseball doesn’t open play at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until Friday morning, but Team Israel and Korea got things started in the tournament Thursday. And while Israel ultimately fell short, dropping its opening game 6-5, a pair of former Boston Red Sox players were responsible for driving in all the team’s runs, and one of them even sparked a comeback.
Ian Kinsler, who was a member of the 2018 World Series championship team, hit a two-run home run to put Israel up 2-0 in the third inning. Korea countered in the fourth and tied it up, but Ryan Lavarnway — who played for Boston from 2011-14 — put Israel back up with a two-run blast in the sixth.
Korea looked to put it away with a three-run seventh inning, but Lavarnway was the hero in the ninth, when he forced extras with a solo shot that tied the game at 5-5.
A Korea rally in the 10th led to the win, and in unceremonious fashion as the run scored when the batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Either way, it was a great showing for former Boston players. On Friday, the franchise’s past and future could be on display, since Kinsler and Lavarnway will lead Team Israel as they face Triston Casas and Team USA at 6 a.m. ET.