A US baseball player brings some insider information to his team.

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TOKYO – Tyler Austin plays his home games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium during the baseball season as part of the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, a team in Japan’s top professional league.

And now, on the US baseball team at the Olympics, that stadium is also home to Austin.

This familiarity — not just with his surroundings but also with opposing shooters — has helped power Austin, 29, a former Yankees candidate. saturday night gold medal game. Opponent: Japan, a team of the same players Austin faced in the professional league for the rest of the year.

The experience has served him well. Over five games in the tournament, Austin, a designated hitter, is hitting a team-best .429 (9 for 21) with two home runs and seven runs.

This year with the Baystars, Austin is enjoying a second, better season on the team than last season. He reached .314 with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs in 68 games. After losing a lot of weight last year, he trusted his wife to come up with an off-season training and nutrition plan that he said helped him gain strength.

Because the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Unlike Major League Baseball, taking an Olympic break, Austin managed to play for the United States. But it’s also why Japan is the favorite to claim its first Olympic gold medal in baseball, and is the only undefeated team in the tournament.

“These are absolutely the best guns they have here,” Austin said of Japan’s shooting personnel.

Given that most of his teammates had never encountered many of Japan’s Olympic guns, Austin sought to serve them as a resource beyond video. “Any bit of information I can give – I try my best to give the best discovery report I can,” he said.

It might help: As a whole, the United States hits .247 – trailing South Korea (.294) and Japan (.288) – but leading in slow percentage (.434) entering Saturday. (The strength of the United States was its shooting: The aggregated average of 2.18 runs won is more than a run better than the next best team.)

Austin will have to serve as a frontrunner for his teammates to the gold medal match again: Japan will start one of NPB’s top talents, 23-year-old right-handed Masato Morishita, in the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. In a 7-4 win against Mexico early in the tournament, Morishita allowed two runs and three innings out of five.

“I’ve run into Morishita a few times,” Austin said. “Hopefully I can give a pretty good reconnaissance report on Saturday.”

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