After three weeks of exciting international baseball, the World Baseball Classic came to a close last night, with the two final teams going up against each other in the tournament: Team USA and Team Japan.
With the game on the line and Team USA down one run in the ninth inning, Mike Trout came to the plate to bat against his Los Angeles Angels teammate, Shohei Ohtani. With the count 3-2, Ohtani bested his teammate, striking him out and winning the contest for his home country.
This was Japan’s third gold medal finish since 2009, following two third-place finishes in 2013 and 2017. Team USA could not defend their 2017 championship, losing 3-2. To cap off their WBC win, Team Japan finished with a flawless record of 7-0, the second team in the WBC to finish with an undefeated record.
After the ceremony crowning Team Japan champions, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the next edition of the World Baseball Classic would take place in 2026. While that seems far away, the next series will mark the 20th anniversary since its creation in 2006. Teams worldwide have already begun qualifying for the next tournament with the hopes of bragging rights for the best baseball team in the world.