All eyes Tuesday night were on the titanic matchup between Team USA and Team Japan in the finals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. What made that game even more interesting — and unique — was the fact that each team is being led by a Los Angeles Angels star. For the United States, they have Mike Trout. For Japan, they have Shohei Ohtani.
The dream matchup within the dream matchup finally happened at the top of the ninth inning. Shohei Ohtani, pitching relief while Japan was holding on to a one-run lead, faced Angels teammate Mike Trout for the most pivotal at-bat of the contest. Ohtani would end up getting the better of that showdown, as he struck out Trout in six pitches to seal the deal and give Japan the 3-2 victory.
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani after the World Baseball Classic pic.twitter.com/Rdu8qp42s6
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 22, 2023
THE FINAL OUT.
What a moment for Shohei Ohtani and Team Japan 🇯🇵🏆 pic.twitter.com/8DdTDhkryk
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 22, 2023
Shohei striking out Trout to win the WBC pic.twitter.com/DoGbe3uUic
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) March 22, 2023
Shohei Ohtani started the inning with a free pass issued to Jeff McNeil but recovered right away, as Japan had a double play completed after a grounder from Mookie Betts. What followed was the highly anticipated duel between Ohtani and Trout. All told, Ohtani allowed just a hit with a walk in 15 pitches in a successful save opportunity.
Bragging rights forever. Shohei Ohtani is a living legend. Congratulations to Japan. pic.twitter.com/X5kW3RtaqS
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) March 22, 2023
In addition to his showing on the mound, Ohtani also went 1-for-3 with a walk during his at-bats.
Trea Turner put Team USA on the board first with a solo homer in the second inning before Japan responded with three runs in a row, which were all Ohtani and his team needed to get the job done.
That iconic moment between Ohtani and Trout was the perfect ending to a perfect tournament.