Port Dover’s John Axford and his Canadian national men’s baseball teammates had their Olympic hopes dashed earlier this month.
Looking to qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, Canada was eliminated from advancing after losing 6-5 to the Dominican Republic.
Earlier, at the WBSC Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier, Canada defeated Cuba 6-5 to advance to the Super Round of the tournament. Axford got the final out in that game to earn the save.
Canada then lost to Venezuela 5-0 and the U.S. 10-1 before the game against the Dominican Republic.
Axford made his major league debut in 2009 at the age of 26 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He set the organization’s saves in a season record with 46 in 2011.
The six-foot-five, 220-pound right-handed pitcher then played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays and, finally, in 2018, with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He appeared in 543 games during his career, going 38-34 with 144 saves and a 3.83 ERA.
After the game against the Dominican Republic, the 38-year-old posted his thoughts on Twitter with a picture of him walking off the mound during the Olympic qualifier.
“This picture captures the moments of, what could be, the last time I walk off the mound,” Axford said.
“Despite the disappointment of giving up a go-ahead hit and being eliminated from the chance of playing in the Olympics, I’m still trying to soak it in.
“I’ve given up game-winning hits plenty of times in my career. Sometimes I would look up to see the crowd and feel that disappointment. Sometimes my head would hang low.
“This time, I did a bit of both.”