The World Baseball Classic was the center of the baseball world for the last two weeks, and the tournament delivered on its usual intensity and excitement, especially in the final individual matchup between Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Team USA was the favorite heading into the tournament. They were the defending champions of the semi-annual event, and had one of the most stacked baseball lineups that you will ever see.
Mike Trout Takes On Shohei Ohtani In All-Time WBC Matchup
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 22, 2023
Guys like Trea Turner, Pete Alonso, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt graced the batting lineup, while the pitching rotation featured players such as Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Freeland.
But despite all of that talent, Team USA ended up on the losing end in one of the better baseball games in recent memory.
The Americans cruised through the elimination stages by defeating Venezuela and Cuba, but met a wildly talented and motivated Team Japan in the WBC Championship Game on Tuesday night in Miami.
The game was an instant classic, with Team USA taking an early one-run lead that they promptly gave up, forcing them to play from behind from the second inning on. Japan led 3-1 entering the 8th inning when Kyle Schwarber narrowed the lead to one with a solo home run, setting up a match up in the 9th inning that writers couldn’t have scripted any better.
Team Japan Outlasts Team USA For WBC Championship
The Los Angeles Angels have two of the most talented players to ever play the game on their team at the same time. Both Mike Trouth and Shohei Ohtani took leaves of absences from spring training in order to represent their countries, and as fate would have it, it came down to the both of them to decide the entire tournament.
SCHWARBER TAKES THAT ONE OUT OF HERE!
USA is within 1 run in the 8th! pic.twitter.com/ULhUJSBMy7
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 22, 2023
After issuing a walk to the first batter of the 9th inning, Ohtani got Mookie Betts to ground into a double play, putting Japan just one out away from taking home the glory. As if out of a storybook, up to the plate walked Trout. It was not only a match up of two generational talents with the entire baseball world watching, but players who are MLB teammates and will see each other when they return to spring training in a couple of days.
The at-bat was an epic one, with Trout working Ohtani into a full count. The pitcher then threw a perfect slider that Trout couldn’t catch up with, striking out his MLB teammate and securing the WBC title for Japan.
It was two of the best players that the game has ever seen, meeting up in the 9th inning of a game to decide the World Baseball Classic, and they happen to be MLB teammates. The movie writers couldn’t have done it any better.
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