US baseball grouped with Puerto Rico, Dominicans, Nicaragua

After failing to earn an Olympic baseball berth at the Premier12 tournament, the United States was grouped with Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua for the first round of Americas qualifying.

Host Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Israel already have qualified for the Olympic baseball tournament in Japan next summer, with two berths to be determined. The U.S. held a ninth-inning lead Sunday but lost to Mexico 3-2 in 10 innings.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation held a draw Wednesday in Sakai, Japan, for the Americas tournament, to be held in Arizona from March 22-26. In the other first-round group, Cuba was drawn to play Canada, Colombia and Venezuela.

The top two teams in each group advance to a super round, with the results carried forward from the games between the teams who advanced. The super group winner gets an Olympic berth.

The second- and third-place teams advance to the final qualifying tournament in Taiwan from April 1-5, where they will be joined by China, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the top team from an Oceania pre-qualifier.

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