Field of dreams: Triston Casas soaking up Tokyo 2020 and tearing up the Games

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Triston Casas #26 of Team United States tosses his bat after being walked in the first inning against Team Republic of Korea during the semifinals of the men's baseball on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Triston Casas #26 of Team United States tosses his bat after being walked in the first inning against Team Republic of Korea during the semifinals of the men's baseball on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

The prized prospect of the Boston Red Sox is thriving on the Olympic stage, poised to do damage in Saturday's gold-medal game in Yokohama vs hosts Japan.

The good news for Japan is they are one win away from capturing Olympic gold, a thirst the baseball-mad country have been dying to quench for 37 years.

The bad news is they get Triston Casas again on Saturday (7 August).

Casas, the top prospect coming through the Boston Red Sox organisation, has been raking for the United States at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Through Thursday's 7-2 semi-final win over the Republic of Korea that put the U.S. in the gold-medal game at Yokohama Stadium, Casas has been leading the tournament in home runs (3), RBIs (8) and slugging percentage (.789) in five games played.

Casas - ranked 22nd overall in the States by Baseball America - has relished the moment, playing for his country at an Olympic Games, but isn't caught up in what he has achieved individually here.

Just like his Japanese opponents, he is all about bringing home a gold for the U.S., who last topped the podium in baseball at Sydney 2000.

“I think when you represent the U.S., wearing the country name on our uniforms, you definitely want to rise to the occasion”, said Casas.

“At the end of the tournament, nobody is going to remember how many home runs I hit or runs I drive in.

"It's just about taking home a gold.”

When the U.S. and Japan squared off in the second round on Monday, Casas went 2-for-4 with two runs scored including a three-run homer off AOYAGI Koyo that put the hosts on the ropes - before they turned around the game and won it in extra innings.

Japan will surely handle Casas with care on Saturday when MORISHITA Masato is expected to start on the mound although manager INABA Atsunori has said he is prepared to empty the bench, something Inaba's counterpart .

On the other side of the Pacific, the Red Sox are certainly happy to see the tear the 21-year-old has been on the Games.

While a call-up to The Show looks to be further down the road, Boston manager Alex Cora is more than happy with the progress Casas is making.

“We’ve been paying attention,” Cora said. “With Triston, we know the type of player he is. It seems like he’s enjoying the experience. He’s been very emotional, which we love.

"We’ve been in touch with (minor league coach Darren Fenster) throughout the tournament, and they’re very pleased not only with what he’s doing on the field, but the way he’s doing stuff off the field, the way he has connected with veteran players. And this is part of player development. The fact he can go into a high-pressure situation and perform at this level is amazing.”

“I’m just really proud of what he’s doing. He’s done an amazing job. He’s carrying this team offensively. You don’t have too many chances to represent your country after you turn professional.

"The fact the organisation gave all these players the green light to go over there to Tokyo in the middle of a pandemic, knowing everything that’s going on, to go out there and get better and play pressure baseball, I think it’s great”.

That's sweet music to the Fenway faithful, not so much to the Japanese fans.