Japan Defeats USA in World Baseball Classic Championship In Dramatic Fashion

As the World Baseball Classic comes to an end and the Major League Baseball season nears, the championship game between the United States and Japan took place on Tuesday night, where several iconic plays took place.


In the first inning, the United States was up to hit, and Mike Trout had a weak base hit into right field and caught defense off guard by speeding into second base for a double, but the rest of the lineup couldn’t do anything with it as they stranded him at second base to lead off the game. Luckily for the USA, Japan couldn’t score in the first inning either. Going into the second inning, Trea Turner continued playing great by hitting his fourth homerun in three games to get the scoring started and give the USA a 1-0 lead. However, that lead was quickly taken by Japan when Munetaka Murakami crushed a homerun on the first pitch he saw into the second deck to tie the game at 1-1. Later in the second inning with the bases loaded and only one out, Lars Nootbaar hit a soft ground ball that gave Japan the lead 2-1. The USA was able to get out of the second inning only down by one run.


The USA had some chances in the third and fourth inning, but couldn’t capitalize with any kind of scoring, and it wasn’t long before Japan took advantage, hitting another home run, this time from Kazuma Okamoto to make the score 3-1 in the fourth. Despite both teams having opportunities to score at many times throughout the game, neither could get any runs across, leaving the score still 3-1 in the eighth inning, when Kyle Schwarber hit a huge home run off Yu Darvish to make the score 3-2 and give the USA a chance. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth from Japan, the USA had one last chance to keep their title hopes alive. Unfortunately, they were going to have to hit off Shoehi Ohtani. The first hitter was Jeff McNeil, who had a great at-bat and worked the count to 3 balls and 2 strikes, until he eventually walked on a 99 mph fastball below the zone for ball four. With a runner on first and no one out, Mookie Betts grounded to second for a double play that left Trout up for the USA in one of the most highly anticipated at bats of all time. Arguably the two best players in the world, Trout and Ohtani, to decide the WBC. The first pitch was a breaking ball below the zone for a ball. Next pitch was a 100 mph fastball that was swung at and missed. The next three pitches were fastballs, all at 100 mph or more, until the count was full. Ohtani threw a breaking ball that fooled Trout, and won the World Baseball Classic for Japan.


With the win, Japan gets their third WBC Championship. The only other countries to have won are the Dominican Republic and the USA. All the players in the tournament are now going to return to their normal teams, but it’s been confirmed that the WBC will return in 2026.