The World Baseball Classic provides some unique moments for those participating. On one end, some teams are stacked and look like All-Star teams when they play. On the other hand, some competitors who aren’t even professional baseball players are getting a chance to play at a high level.
That dichotomy was in play on Saturday, when the incredibly talented Japanese baseball team took on the inexperienced Czech Republic. While Japan won 10-2, they were at one point up 1-0, and their starting pitcher received a once-in-a-lifetime highlight.
Ondrej Satoria, whose day job is as an electrician in the Czech Republic, successfully struck out Shohei Ohtani, arguably the best player in the world.
Satoria is listed at 5-9 and 168 pounds, and his four-seam fastball topped out at 79 MPH during the game. He finished his start allowing three runs in three innings, but the Czech Republic were able to avoid early termination and played the full nine innings against the best active Japanese players.
The Czech Republic are one of three countries playing in the WBC for the first time, joining Nicaragua, and Great Britain. That means that many of their players have other jobs besides playing baseball for their country. As a result, just competing against teams like Japan is an accomplishment itself.
After the game, Ohtani showed his appreciation for the Czech with a social media post offering “respect.”
So far, the Czech Republic is 1-1 in the WBC and likely needs to win their next two games to advance to the next round. At the very least, though, the country’s players are getting incredible experiences out of this tournament.