The ending of the World Baseball Classic was so good, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t scripted.
Japan claimed the title Tuesday night with a thrilling 3-2 win over the United States in the championship.
Japanese manager Hideki Kuriyama had lined up his staff perfectly, which resulted in Yu Darvish getting the eighth inning and Shohei Ohtani pitching the ninth. Ohtani walked Jeff McNeil to begin the inning, but responded by getting Mookie Betts to ground into a double-play.
Poetically, that brought up fellow star and Angels teammate Mike Trout. Ohtani got Trout into a full count before getting him to strike out swinging to end the game.
You couldn’t draw up a better ending. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar, who played for Team Japan, was standing in left field during the at-bat. He summed up his feelings pretty well.
“I can’t wait to just sleep for 24 hours, man,” Nootbaar said on the "Flippin’ Bats” podcast. “The emotions have been going absolutely crazy. Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani to end the game. Ninth inning, 3-2 count – I couldn’t even feel my own body.”
This year’s World Baseball Classic, which featured MLB players for the first time in six years, was electric. Ohtani ending it by striking out Trout was a fitting cherry on top.
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