The World Baseball Classic kicked off earlier this month, showcasing the best and brightest baseball stars from 32 countries around the world (16 being qualifiers).
As the tournament field shrunk with every final out, teams began setting their sights on Dodger Stadium, where the four best teams would battle it out for the title.
The four teams included Japan, the United States, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands.
Puerto Rico and Japan had a relatively smooth ride into their final games, totaling six wins each, en route to Los Angeles. For the United States and the Netherlands, resilience and a “grind it out” mentality were the driving forces behind their important wins, moving them past both group stages.
Every team in the World Baseball Classic was loaded with talent, along with some “diamonds in the rough” players emerging on the field as well. MLB players were all over the diamond, and for powerhouses such as Puerto Rico and the United States, it was business as usual.
Puerto Rico’s Carlos Correa showed the world on the big stage just how powerful he is, with three home runs and eight hits. Coming in clutch when it matters, Correa crushed a 74 miles per hour curveball over the fence helping his squad register an 11th inning victory against the Netherlands to help them get into the championship game.
25-year-old talent for the United States shined in the WBC, as Christian Yelich and Marcus Stroman were pivotal pieces in the championship victory. Stroman launched the gas throughout the first six innings of the big game, only allowing one hit, with no runs. Yelich went 2 of 5 with a double, an RBI and a run in the 8-0 rout of Puerto Rico.
This tournament was dominated by the hardwood for each countries best, as power was the name of the game. Japan and Puerto Rico were the heaviest hitters, launching 11 long balls each into the stands for fans to snatch.
All in all, the United States exhibited their talent, and proved exactly why baseball is “America’s National Pastime”.