It was a drama-like beginning and ending that couldn’t have been more perfect with a single movie. The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was a ‘baseball cartoon’ for Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels).

Ohtani, the biggest star in the major leagues and a symbol of the Japanese national team, climbed the mound as the starting pitcher in the first game and led the team to victory.

Ohtani has risen to the top spot in the major leagues as a ‘two-hitter’. Ohtani, who won the American League MVP unanimously in 2021, finished second in the MVP vote last year, behind Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), who set a new American League home run record (62).

It was his first appearance on the WBC stage. Ohtani announced his intention to participate in the WBC early on, and he also had a relationship with coach Hideki Kuriyama, who was his teacher during the Nippon Ham in the Japanese professional baseball, as the head coach of the Japanese national team. Now, the greatest desire to win the WBC, the world’s best baseball competition, where most of the major league players participate, was the greatest. 

Ohtani appeared in one game as a pitcher in the major league spring camp and joined the Japanese national team, and also participated in the WBC as a ‘two-hitter’. 메이저놀이터

He played as a starting pitcher and designated hitter in the first match against China in the first round of Group B group stage. He was very active as a pitcher, recording 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 RBIs in 4 at-bats as a perfect pitcher with 4 innings, 1 hit, 5 strikeouts and no runs allowed. 

Japan advanced to the quarterfinals with four victories in the first round, and Ohtani participated again as a two-hitter in the quarterfinals against Italy. Angels teammate David Fletcher faced off as third baseman for the Italian national team. Ohtani blocked Fletcher with one hit in two at-bats.

Ohtani, who started as a starting pitcher, became the winning pitcher with 4 hits, 1 walk, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts and 2 runs in 4⅔ innings. He was driven to the brink with two outs loaded with a hit and two walks in the fifth inning, leading 4-0, and allowed a run with two RBIs timely hit by Dominic Fletcher. As a hitter, Ohtani recorded 1 hit, 1 walk and 2 runs in 4 at-bats. 

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