2023 World Baseball Classic championship
|Date||March 21, 2023|
|City||Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|MVP||Shohei Ohtani ( Japan)|
|Time of game||19:00 EDT|
The 2023 World Baseball Classic championship was the final game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic, a men's international baseball tournament sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in partnership with World Baseball Classic Inc. (WBCI). The game was played on March 21, 2023, at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, United States, between hosts and defending champion United States and two-time champion Japan. Japan won 3–2 to earn a record-extending third World Baseball Classic title. Shohei Ohtani won the most valuable player award.
Unlike in 2009, 2013 and 2017, the 2023 U.S. lineup attracted distinguished players, which some commentators claimed contributed to generating excitement for the final. The U.S. general manager Tony Reagins credited Mike Trout, a three-time major league MVP, for committing to the team early (in July 2022) which made it easier to convince others to join.
The championship game was one of the most watched games in baseball history. The game was widely praised as an instant classic, with the ending duel between team captains Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani being considered as one of the greatest moments in the history of the sport.
Road to the championship
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The United States was the victor of the previous edition of the WBC, in 2017. Japan won the 2006 and 2009 editions of the WBC.
In 2023, Japan won all four games in Pool B, which it hosted at the Tokyo Dome. They then defeated Italy in the quarterfinals. Japan defeated Mexico in the semifinals to advance to the championship.
The United States went 3–1 in Pool C, advancing as the pool's runner-up behind Mexico, who they lost to in an upset 11–5 result. The United States defeated Venezuela in the quarterfinals and Cuba in the semifinals.
Note: In all results below, the score of the finalist is given first (H: home; A: away).
|Great Britain||6–2 (H)||Match 1||China||8–1 (H)|
|Mexico||5–11 (H)||Match 2||South Korea||13–4 (H)|
|Canada||12–1 (7) (H)||Match 3||Czech Republic||10–2 (H)|
|Colombia||3–2 (A)||Match 4||Australia||7–1 (A)|
|Pool C runners-up
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
|Final standings||Pool B winners
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
|Venezuela||9–7 (A)||Quarterfinals||Italy||9–3 (H)|
|Cuba||14–2 (H)||Semifinals||Mexico||6–5 (H)|
The starting pitchers for the championship game were Shōta Imanaga for Japan and Merrill Kelly for the United States. Trea Turner hit a solo home run for the United States off of Imanaga in the top of the second inning. Turner tied Lee Seung-yuop (South Korea) in the 2006 tournament for the most home-runs in a single WBC tournament. Munetaka Murakami tied the game with a solo home run off of Kelly in the bottom of the second inning. Japan continued the inning by loading the bases with singles from Kazuma Okamoto and Sosuke Genda and a walk to Yuhei Nakamura. After Aaron Loup relieved Kelly for the United States, Lars Nootbaar hit a RBI ground out. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kazuma Okamoto hit a solo home run for Japan off of Kyle Freeland to give Japan its final run.
Both teams remained scoreless until the top of the eighth inning, when Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run for the United States off of Yu Darvish. Leading 3–2 in the ninth inning, Japan used their designated hitter, Shohei Ohtani, to record the save. Ohtani struck out Mike Trout, his teammate with the Los Angeles Angels, to win the tournament for Japan. Ohtani won the WBC's most valuable player award after batting .435 with a 1.86 earned run average pitching.
|WP: Shōta Imanaga (1–0) LP: Merrill Kelly (0–1) Sv: Shohei Ohtani (1)|
USA: Trea Turner (5), Kyle Schwarber (2)
JPN: Munetaka Murakami (1), Kazuma Okamoto (2)
Umpires: HP – Lance Barksdale, 1B – John Tumpane, 2B – Edward Pinales, 3B – Ramiro Alfaro, LF – Jong Chui Park, RF – Quinn Wolcott
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