MIAMI, Fla– In thrilling fashion Japan took home the 2023 World Baseball Classic over the United States, 3-2 on Tuesday, March 21. Shohei Ohtani walked away with MVP honors, further proof and recognition that he is perhaps the greatest baseball player of this generation.

A sellout crowd of 36,098 at loandepot park in Miami,and fans around the globe witnessed the showdown everyone was hoping for. Trailing by one run in the ninth inning with two outs, Los Angeles Angels teammates Shoei Ohtani and Mike Trout faced off in an epic showdown baseball fans across the globe had been dying to see.

Squaring off for the final at-bat of the 2023 World Baseball Classic in a legendary matchup between two of the game’s powerhouses, Ohtani stifled a swinging Trout with an 87.2 mph curve ball. With a full count with two outs,Ohtani recorded the last out and pumped his fist, threw his glove and then his hat in jubilation.

“I’ve seen Japan winning, and I just wanted to be part of it,” said Ohtani. “I really appreciate that I was able to have the great experience. As I say, the next generation, the kids who are playing baseball, I was hoping that those people would like to play baseball. That would make me happy.”

Ohtani’s final stats in Japan’s seven wins: .435/.606/.739 with four doubles and a home run at the plate and a 1.86 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings on the mound, plus a save.

Undefeated Japan topped reigning champ USA for its first title since winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2009.

Former Los Angeles Dodger and Team USA Hero Trea Turner, who hit the game-winning grand slam against Venezuela and homered twice in the blowout of Cuba, homered in the second inning to give the U.S. an initial 1-0 lead.

Japan responded with a Munetaka Murakami game tying homer in the bottom of the inning by going yard against Merrill Kelly, a solo shot that flew 432 feet to right-center. Nootbar gave Japan the edge by driving in Kazuma Okamoto on a groundout against reliever Aaron Loup.

Kazuma Okamoto provided an insurance run with a solo homer in the fourth off of Kyle Freeland. The United States refused to fold, mounting a furious comeback which came up short in the end.

Team USA threatened in both the 5th and 7th inning, unfortunately those opportunities were squandered.

The U.S. went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, its worst mark ever in the World Baseball Classic. In the second, third, fifth and seventh innings, the U.S. had two runners on base who failed to score.

The game was far from over. USA put on the pressure in the eighth when Kyle Schwarber pummeled a splitter from Yu Darvish 436 feet to right-center in a 10-pitch at-bat to make it a one run contest.

Mike Trout was the United States final hope with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.

Trout worked a 3-2 count, staying alive, then whiffing on two 100 mph four-seam fastballs down the middle.

For baseball fans around the globe it was pure joy. Especially fans rooting for Japan.