Shohei Ohtani aids team Japan in WBC win

After 14 years since their last win, the Japanese national team took home an exciting win in the World Baseball Classic winning 3-2 against the USA team last Tuesday, making Japan rank first place in the WBC. At the end of the game, it came down to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout at the final bat; with Ohtani striking out Trout with an 87.2 mph curveball. Japan took the trophy and celebrated their third tournament championship.

Japan’s fans watched with anxiousness as the semi-final game against Mexico almost ended in defeat on the fateful Monday night of March 20, with Japan being down to a seemingly inescapable level. In the last inning however, with one strike left on Japan’s Masataka Yoshida, Ohtani struck a powerful hit to left field which held a chain reaction for the rest of the team. Japan ended up tying Mexico 3-3 in a nail-biting ending to the game which set them to the finals.

Though Japan’s win resulted from the hard work and spirit of the whole team, Shohei Ohtani was the main star of the season, and rightfully so. Currently a player for the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani started his baseball journey in 2013 as an outfielder and pitcher for The Fighters. With an American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2018 under his belt, the powerful player has taken the baseball world by storm with his charismatic personality and powerful playing style. Ohtani has hit 34 home runs and 160 hits in 2022 alone, making him the first MLB runner to register 30 home runs and 10 wins as a pitcher in the league. Ohtani was then awarded MVP for the year, and deservingly so.

Japan is the only team to conquer multiple championships, with the 2023 WBC win alone marking the team’s third win in the competition overall. The close team members on Japan will be splitting their ways after the WBC, with Ohtani returning to the Angels, other players returning back to the major league camps, and some leaving to showcase their talent on the international stage. However, everything they accomplished in WBC will stay with them for the rest of the baseball season until they return again to defend their title in 2026.