Japan’s 2023 World Baseball Classic Victory


Darius Corpodean


Japan wraps up this year’s World Baseball Classic by winning their third W.B.C. title! They were matched up in the final against a major powerhouse, USA. The game ended 3-2, with Shohei Ohtani pitching for Japan and striking out USA batter, Mike Trout, causing Japan to become champions.

Throughout the majority of the competition, Japan showed their dominance with wins against China (8-1), Korea (13-4), the Czech Republic (10-2), Australia (7-1), and Italy (9-3) in the quarterfinals.

Despite a major challenge with a strong Mexico squad in the semifinals, they persevered through a rough game that had them losing 3-0 in the fourth inning due to a 3-run home run by Mexican batter, Luis Urias. Japan still managed to match that in the seventh inning, with a wonderful hit of a home run from Masataka Yoshida, tying the game 3-3.

Going straight into the eighth inning, Mexico took the lead yet again with two runs to make it 5-3. Japan responded with a hit from batter Yamakawa to get another run, making the score 5-4. In the ninth and final inning, Japan had runners on first and second base with Munetaka Murakami up to bat. With a final swing to send Japan to the final, Murakami hits a two-run double to make the score 5-6 and end Mexico’s W.B.C run.

When it came down to the final, the team took Ohtani’s words to heart. Inan article from The New York Times, Ohtani said, “Obviously it’s a big accomplishment to get to the championship series, but there’s a huge difference from being in first and second … So I’m going to do all I can to get that first place.”

And they did indeed follow through in the final while leading 2-1 in the second inning, after Murakami tied the game 1-1 to match USA’s Trea Turner’s single homerun.

By the fourth inning, Japan’s Okamoto extended Japan’s lead to 3-1 after a home run. Yet team USA didn’t let up and Schwarber hit a home run in the eighth inning with the score 3-2.

It came down to The Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout in the ninth inning. With Trout being USA’s last batting hope, Ohtani threw him an 87 mile per hour ball to strike his fellow teammate out and win it all for Japan! A post-game interview from The Guardian states, “‘Whether I got him out or he got a hit off me, I didn’t want to make any regrets. I wanted to make my best pitch,’ Ohtani said through an interpreter.”

The next World Baseball Classic will take place in 2026. Which team are you most looking forward to winning the next tournament?