It was a storybook ending to an incredible tournament that had the world’s attention.
Los Angeles Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout — considered the two best players in all of baseball — faced off in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs with Japan leading 3-2 in the final of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Ultimately it was Ohtani — a two-way player the likes of which the game has maybe never seen — who would prevail, striking out Trout on a 3-2 slider that fell off the plate.
The at-bat included two 100 mph challenge fastballs from the Japanese right hander, both of which garnered swing-and-misses from the three-time MVP Trout.
Ohtani entered in the ninth inning to get the save, and protected the one-run lead after giving up a lead-off walk. He was named the tournament’s MVP after the game.
For the tournament, Ohtani batted .435 with one homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and 10 walks as Japan joined the Dominican Republic in 2013 to become the only unbeaten champions of baseball’s premier national team tournament. Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP was 2-0 with a save and a 1.86 ERA on the mound, striking out 11 in 9 2/3 innings.