Baseball won in the 2023 World Baseball Classic tournament

Timothy Phan, News Editor

The World Baseball Classic, packed with superstars from across the globe, came to a storybook conclusion with Shohei Ohtani striking out Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout to lead Japan to its third title, the most of any nation to date. The championship game has become the most-watched game in baseball history.

Japan, led by MVP Ohtani and RBI-leader Masataka Yoshida, went undefeated throughout the entire tournament, winning their group 4-0 and soundly defeating Italy in their quarterfinal match. However, both their semifinal game against Mexico and the final game against USA were thrillers determined by one run, with the game against Mexico ending with a walk-off.

America also had quite the tournament performance behind “Captain America” Mike Trout and home-run machine Trea Turner. Despite barely squeaking out of the group stage with a 3-2 win over Colombia, and closely taking their quarterfinal versus Venezuela 9-7 through a Trea Turner go-ahead grand slam, they demolished Cuba in a 14-2 drubbing before the championship game.

Dominican Republic, the initial favorites to win the tournament, could not make it out of a stacked Pool D with Venezuela and Puerto Rico that ended up being the tournament’s “group of death.” Both made impressive upsets over the Dominican Republic, including a clutch close by Edwin Rios for Puerto Rico, and were incredibly competitive in the knockout stages. Mexico, who ended Puerto Rico’s run, also had a spectacular tournament, upsetting Puerto Rico and the United States before taking Japan to the limit in the semifinals. Cuba also surprisingly made the tournament semifinals, finishing top of their group and beating Australia in the quarterfinals. Notable individual performances included Mexico’s resident luchador Randy Arozarena, who was nationalized to perform for this specific tournament, Korea’s Ji-Hoon Choy, who led many hitting statistics, and Taipei’s Yu Chang, who made several clutch hits.