Modified on March 22, 2023

Japan in World Baseball Classic
Champion is Samurai Japan
MVP is Shohei Ohtani

Final: vs USA on March 21
Shota Imanaga of the Yokohama BayStars started. He gave up a home run to Trea Turner. But in the bottom of that inning, Munetaka Murakami blasted a home run to equalize. Then on Lars Nootbar's grounded ball, a runner came home to lead. In the 4th inning, Kazuma Okamoto homered. Yu Darvish came on to pitch in the 8th inning. Kyle Schwarber homered off him. In the 9th inning, 2 way player, Shohei Ohtani was on the mound. He walked Jeff McNeil, then saved by a double play. With 2 outs, he faced his Angels teammate Mike Trout. He struck him out. Shohei barked in delight. It's a 3 to 2 win for Samurai Japan, the 3rd WBC victory and the first in 14 years.

semifinal: vs Mexico on March 20
The Samurais were in Florida to face Mexico in the Semi-finals of WBC for the first time. Roki Sasaki hurled speed ball above 100 mph. But he gave up a 3 run homerun to Luis Urias in the 4th inning. Meanwhile Mexico's started Patrick Sandoval of the Angels pitched well stirking out 6. From the 5th inning, Japan's award winning pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto took over the mound. In the 7th inning, Masataka Yoshida slammed a 3 run home run to equalize. Mexico hit in 2 runs to lead again. But Shohei Ohtani was committed to get on base in the 9th inning. He doubled and ran hard. Then after a walk, Japan's triple crown king Munetaka Murakami was up to bat. He had struck out 3 times in the game. But this time, he slammed the ball, and it was a walk-off win of 6 to 5 for the Samurais.

quarter-finals: vs Italy on March 16
This is the last game for Samurai Japan in Japan and at the Tokyo Dome, win or not. Shohei Ohtani who was named MVP in Group B started. In the 4th inning, he filled the bases and gave up 2 runs. At bat, he performed a stunning bunt in the first inning, leading to a run. Kazuma Okamoto of the Tokyo Giants blasted a 3 run home run. Masataka Yoshida singled a home run. Yu Darvish was the 3rd to pitch in the game. He hurled 2 innings, gave up a home run but it seems suspicious it was above the fence. Sousuke Genda played in this game even though he had a broken finger. He fielded well and hit in a run. Japan won 9 to 3. TV rating for this game was 48 percent. Just hours after the game, at 3 am local time, the team left for Miami for the semi-finals.

First Round: vs Australia on March 12
In the first inning, Samurai Japan was on fire. Shohei Ohtani blasted a 3 run home run. The home run banged into a signboard with his face on it. In the 2nd inning Lars Nootbaar hit in a run, and so did Kensuke Kondo. 24 year old Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes pitched a solid 4 innings. Japan beat Australia 7 to 1 to advance.

First Round: vs Czech Republic on March 11
The starting pitcher is 21 year old Roki Sasaki. It's on a memorial day of the big earthquake and tsunami of 2011. He lost his father, grandparents and his home in the tsunami. In the first inning, Roki gave up a run. But he recovered thereafter, and hurled 4 innings. In the 3rd inning, Tetsuto Yamada hit in a run. In the 4th inning, Nootbarr doubled. Kensuke Kondo drove in a run to take the lead. In the 8th inning, Shugo Maki slammed his 2nd homer in WBC. Samurai Japan won 10 to 2.

First Round: vs South Korea on March 10
Yu Darvish pitched in Japan for the first time in 12 years. In the 3rd inning, he gave up a 2 run homer to E.J. Yang. After Munetaka Murakami hurled a badly controlled ball to first, the Korean side hit in another run. In the 4th inning, Nootbaar hit in a run. Kensuke Kondo of the Softbank Hawks followed. Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox recorded 2 runs to take the lead. The Samurai kept its lead to win 13 to 4 against its long time rival.

First Round: vs China on March 9
Japan is in a WBC fever. It's as Shohei Ohtani of the California Angels is playing in Japan for the first time since he's left for the U.S. Yu Darvish of the San Diego Padres joined the team in late February from Miyazaki camp. For the first time, the national team is joined by an American. Lars Nootbaar of the St Louis Cardinals has been summoned. His mother is Japanese. 41,000 fans were at the Tokyo Dome, to witness Shohei start, pitch a solid 4 innings. He also hit in 2 runs. Samurai Japan won 8 to 1. Camp in pre-COVID-19 day mode

Tokyo Yakult SwallowsUrazoe, Okinawa (Feb.1- 27)
Hanshin TigersGinoza, Okinawa (Feb.1-27)
Yomiuri Giants Miyazaki-city, Miyazaki (Feb.1-14)
Naha, Okinawa (Feb.16 - Mar. 5)
Hiroshima Carp Nichinan, Miyazaki (Feb.1-15)
Okinawa-shi, Okinawa (Feb.17-28)
Chunichi DragonsChatan, Okinawa (Feb.1-27) )
Yokohama DeNA BayStars Ginowan, Okinawa (Feb.1-26)

Orix BuffaloesMiyazaki-shi, Miyazaki (Feb.1-Mar.2)
Chiba Lotte Marines Ishigaki, Okinawa (Feb.1-12)
Itoman, Okinawa (Feb.14 - 23)
Tohoku Rakuten Golden EaglesKincho,Okinawa (Feb.1-19)
Fukuoka Softbank HawksMiyazaki-shi, Miyazaki (Feb.1-Mar.2)
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Nago, Okinawa (Feb.1-28)
Saitama Seibu Lions Nichinan, Miyazaki (Feb.6-23)

For info on previous baseball seasons, go to BASEBALL ARCHIVE