World Baseball Classic concludes

The World Baseball Classic has come to an end, with Japan winning their third title.

Photo Provided by New York Times

The World Baseball Classic has come to an end, with Japan winning their third title.

Lathan Pearce, Staff Writer

The World Baseball Classic (WBC) ended with an intense 3-2 match, with Japan beating the United States, taking their third WBC win. The U.S. would have become the only other nation with multiple wins if they had pulled off the victory.

America had a difficult path to the finals. The  U.S. faced Venezuela in the quarterfinals on March 18 and narrowly defeated them in an offensive battle, ending 9-7. It was a close match, with the U.S. trailing Venezuela into the top of the eighth inning, until Trea Turner, the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, hit a grand slam netting the Americans four runs to put themselves up two points. The U.S. never looked back from there, preventing Venezuela to score any more runs.

“Individually, I think this is probably the biggest hit that I’ve had,” Turner said.

In the semifinals the U.S. took on Cuba; however, it was a more lopsided than the quarter final. The U.S. won 14-2, with Turner’s two home runs leading the way. The United States had an injury in this game, with Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arendo suffering a hand injury after a ball slammed into his hand. He was subbed out for Bobby Witt Jr. in the bottom of the fifth inning. Arendo’s X-rays after the match came back negative, which was a huge relief for the team.

“He feels good. Everything came back great; glad he’s okay,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. 

This win led the U.S. team into the WBC finals against Japan. Japan is led by one of the greatest-hitting pitchers of all time, Shohei Ohtani. The game went back and forth with the U.S. taking an early 1-0 lead after Turner hit a solo shot home run in the top of the second. Japan then tied the match up 1-1 after infielder Munetaka Murakami hit a one run homer in the bottom of the second inning. 

After a home run by Japanese infielder Kazuma Okamoto in the bottom of the fourth that scored two runs, Japan took the 3-1 lead. The U.S. brought it back to 3-2 after a solo home run by Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber in the top of the eighth inning.  

America’s last chance to take home their second WBC trophy came down to the top of the ninth, where Ohtani pitched to his MLB teammate on the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout. This moment was legendary, with two of the greatest ever pinned against one another to decide the champion. The final pitch came on a full count, where Ohtani threw a nasty slider that left Trout swinging a miss. 

“It was the greatest situation facing the greatest hitter,” Ohtani said. “I’ve seen Japan winning, and I just wanted to be a part of it.”

 The U.S. came just two runs away from their second WBC championship. The next tournament will be in 2026, giving the U.S. another shot to join Japan in being the only two nations to have multiple titles. 

Contact Lathan Pearce at [email protected]