Teammates turned foes on Tuesday night when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout — ever-presents in the Angels starting lineup — faced off under the lights.
The stakes were, unsurprisingly, major: the ninth inning of the World Baseball Classic championship game. And with the title on the line, both sides turned to their titans.
It was a ‘dream scenario within a dream scenario,’ as Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Davis described it.
Both Trout and Ohtani had been dominant throughout the tournament. Ohtani came into Tuesday’s game sporting a 1.321 OPS. He wasn’t too shabby on the mound, either; posting a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings prior to Tuesday’s affair.
Trout’s OPS had also exceeded 1.000. And although the future Hall-of-Famer hadn’t quite hit his stride in the title game, his clutch reputation precedes him.
Lead broadcaster Joe Davis called it the “dream scenario within the dream scenario.”
And it more than lived up to expectations.
With two outs and the championship on the line, Ohtani blitzed his friend. He started the at-bat with a slider that just tailed out the zone.
His second pitch was pure gas: 100 mph in the middle of the zone. Trout whiffed.
100 MPH 🔥— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 22, 2023
Ohtani to Trout. pic.twitter.com/Pp7ojcB04y
Another triple-digit heater put Japan one pitch away from international glory. But Trout, ever the entertainer, let the drama build, taking a ball in the dirt to bring the count full.
So Ohtani went with what he knows best: his sumptuous slider. It rolled from one side of the strike zone to the other, fooling Trout — and handing Japan its third WBC title.
There it is! Japan wins the WBC for the 3rd time in history! 🇯🇵— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 22, 2023
“Whether I got him out, or he got a hit on me I didn’t want to have any regrets,” Ohtani said post-game. “I wanted to make my best pitch.”
One look at the pitch breakdown and it’s hard to disagree. Ohtani threw his best pitch to perhaps the game’s greatest ever player.
I MEAN pic.twitter.com/LhBRMwJMuE— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 22, 2023
And even Trout couldn’t catch up.
Now, the Japanese can call themselves WBC champions for the third time.
One can only imagine what the Angels locker room will be like when the two stars are reunited.