The back-and-forth World Baseball Classic semifinals battle between Japan and Mexico was packed with moments that kept the sellout crowd of 35,933 on the edges of their seats inside loanDepot park, and it had all the makings of an instant classic.
Skyrocketing home runs, jaw-dropping defensive plays, electric pitching performances – that even topped triple-digit velocity – and finally a walk-off double, all with the game’s biggest global star in the lineup to deliver one of the most significant at-bats of the entire 2023 World Baseball Classic.
When the dust settled, Team Japan defeated Team Mexico, 6-5, on Monday to advance to face the defending champion Team USA for the WBC title on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET on FS1).
“Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment to get to the championship series, but there’s a huge difference between getting first and second,” said two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, who jump-started Japan’s ninth-inning rally with a leadoff double. “I’m going to do all I can to get first place.”