Samurai Japan Advances to WBC Semifinals

Kazuma Okamoto of Japan, center celebrates with Shohei Ohtani of Japan, left, and Munetaka Murakami of Japan after hitting a three-run home run during the third inning of the quarterfinal game between Italy and Japan at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Kazuma Okamoto helped Samurai Japan advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic with a homerun in the third inning of a 9-3 victory over upstart Italy in quarterfinal action at Tokyo Dome on Thursday night.

Shohei Ohtani got the start on the mound for Japan and worked 4⅔ innings.

The semifinals are in Miami, and Japan joins Cuba as the first two teams to reach the final four.