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World Baseball Classic champs Japan go from 'small ball' to sluggers

Shohei Ohtani has a chance to become sport's global ambassador after grabbing the spotlight

Shohei Ohtani connects for a three-run home run during a World Baseball Classic game against Australia in Tokyo on March 12.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan's victory in the World Baseball Classic rang in a new era for the national team, showing the rise of power hitters like two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani.

In the past, Japan relied on "small ball," an offensive strategy that emphasizes putting runners on base and advancing them into scoring position with bunts and other opportunistic plays.

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