The AquaSox’s Julio Rodriguez helped lead the Dominican Republic to a 4-1 record at an Olympic qualifying event. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The AquaSox’s Julio Rodriguez helped lead the Dominican Republic to a 4-1 record at an Olympic qualifying event. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

J-Rod drives in deciding run for D.R. in Olympic qualifier

AquaSox star Julio Rodriguez finishes 11-for-24 with the Dominican Republic in the qualifier event.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — Everett AquaSox outfielder and highly touted prospect Julio Rodriguez drove in the deciding run in the Dominican Republic’s 6-5 win over Canada on Saturday in an Olympic qualifier event.

Facing a full count with runners on first and second base and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Rodriguez grounded a tiebreaking single up the middle to bring home the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.

Rodriguez went 2-for-4 in the win, which helped keep alive the Dominican Republic’s dream of qualifying for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Rodriguez went 11-for-24 in five games at the event, with two home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored. The 20-year-old phenom, ranked by Baseball America as the sport’s No. 3 overall prospect, had at least one hit in all five games and multiple hits in four games. He blasted two massive homers in a rout of Nicaragua on Wednesday and made a key sliding catch in right field during a victory over Puerto Rico on Monday.

The Dominican Republic went 4-1 at the Baseball Americas Qualifier and finished in second place out of eight teams at the event. With its second-place finish, the Dominican Republic advanced to another qualifier on June 22-26 in Mexico, where it will have one final chance to punch its ticket to Tokyo. The Dominican Republic is seeking its first Olympic berth in baseball since 1992.

In 21 games with the AquaSox this season, Rodriguez is batting .322 with five home runs, one triple and five doubles. As of Saturday afternoon, he ranked second in the six-team High-A West in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage (.404) and second in slugging percentage (.575).

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