It was a perfect stage for Ohtani, by Ohtani.
The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which ended with Japan’s victory, was a tournament that clearly proved that Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) is the best player in world baseball right now.
On the 22nd (Korean time), Japan beat the United States 3-2 in the final of the tournament held at Londipo Park in Miami, Florida, USA, and lifted the championship trophy for the third time in 14 years, following 2006 and 2009.메이저사이트
Japan’s victory was perfect. They won all 7 matches they played in this tournament and achieved an undefeated championship. All players have done their part. But the main character was definitely Ohtani.
Ohtani performed brilliantly as both a hitter and a pitcher in this tournament. He once swung a fire bat as a batter. When he wasn’t starting as a pitcher, he appeared in all seven games as the designated hitter, going 10-for-23 with one home run and eight RBIs. His batting average reached .435. Even more surprising is the on-base percentage. He got 10 walks. His on-base percentage is .606 and his slugging percentage is .739. OPS reaches 1.345.
He also excelled as a pitcher. Ohtani, who started as a starting pitcher in the first round match against China and against Italy in the quarterfinals, also came out as a relief pitcher in the top of the ninth inning against the United States in the final, deciding the championship.
Ohtani threw 9⅔ innings in three games on the mound, giving up only five hits and two runs. He had two wins and a 1.86 earned run average. He struck out 11 times and caught 11. He showed perfect form as both batter and pitcher.
Even in the finals, Ohtani’s greatness shone through. Ohtani, who started as designated hitter No. 3, reached base twice with 1 hit and 1 walk in 4 at-bats and 3 at-bats. In the second half of the game, he was busy going back and forth between the dugout and the bullpen. It was to prepare for the rescue climb. But he couldn’t stay in the bullpen all the time because he had to keep coming out as a hitter at the same time.
Ohtani climbed to the mound in the top of the ninth inning, leading 3-2, to secure a one-run lead. Because he slid after going out as a runner, he threw the ball vigorously wearing a dirt-stained uniform. Departure was uneasy. He gave up a walk to leadoff Jeff McNeil (New York Mets). However, in the situation where the first base was safe, the second baseman caught Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers) with a double hit and overcame the crisis. His usual calm and humble personality, Ohtani also roared at this moment with his fists clenched.
Unfortunately, with no runners on second out, the last hitter was Mike Trout, a teammate of the Angels and the best hitter in the big leagues. A battle of pride was held between the leading stars representing Japanese and American baseball. This was the first time the two faced each other as enemies, as they had been on the same team all along. The best highlight of this tournament came in the last minute of the finals.
Ohtani, who could end the game with just one more batter, threw the ball with all his might. The ball that became the fifth pitch was taken a whopping 101.6 miles (163.5 km). Excluding the first ball and breaking ball, he continued to press Trout with a fastball that reached 100 mph.
In the end, Ohtani induced Trout to miss his swing with a slider that sharply curved outward on the 6th pitch from a full count. After throwing the glove, he jumped up and down on the mound and cheered. It was the moment when Ohtani completed another page in the baseball legend.
Ohtani was named MVP of the tournament announced at an awards ceremony immediately after the finals. All of the Japanese national team players performed outstandingly, but Ohtani’s award could not be disputed. Ohtani, who received the 2021 Major League American League MVP, added a line to the WBC MVP modifier to his brilliant baseball career. That’s how the 2023 WBC ended with Ohtani’s one-man show.