Italy closes World Baseball Classic with head held high

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Italy out of quarterfinals, passes Japan

Italy’s adventure in the 2023 World Baseball Classic is over: the national team led by Mike Piazza failed to defeat in the quarterfinals the favored Japan, which was able to impose itself 9-3 in front of the friendly crowd at the Tokyo Dome. The Nipponese, although with a few moments of slacking and the same number of valid at-bats as the Azzurri (8) made use of their experience and the individual value of their champions to make the difference over the nine innings.

Italy did not need just a Dominic Fletcher capable of bringing home two points with a single in the fifth inning and another with a home run (the only one of the Azzurri expedition in the WBC 2023) in the eighth: on the other side the solidity of the phenomenon Shohei Ohtani (starting pitcher capable of five strikeouts) and the great day at the batting box of Kazuma Okamoto (5 RBI for him, one home run) were enough to achieve success and qualification to the semifinals.

Still, the satisfaction remains for the Azzurri to have reached the knockout stage in baseball’s most important tournament for national teams, a goal that has not succeeded, this year, for such stalwarts as the Dominican Republic and South Korea.

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