Category Archives: Baseball

South Africa, Botswana Advance To 2019 WBSC Softball World Championships

The top two nations from the African Softball Championships — South Africa and Botswana — have qualified for this year’s World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s World Softball Championship in Prague and Havlickuv Brod, and the Junior Women’s Softball World Cup in Irvine, California.

South African national teams won the African Softball Championships in the respective men’s and junior women’s categories this past weekend at the Mbolekwa Sports Complex in Atteridgeville, South Africa.

“Congratulations to South Africa and Botswana for qualifying into the top international softball events in 2019,” said Tommy Velazquez, WBSC Softball Division Chairman. “Softball continues to evolve and bring opportunities in Africa, from grassroots levels to the highest honour, the National Team. WBSC, as well as others in our sport, are focusing efforts on the African continent, connecting with more and more young people and next generations of players. I see a bright future for softball in the African continent, which will boost the Softball World Cup properties into the foreseeable future.”

South Africa defeated Botswana, 4-2, the final of the African Men’s Softball Championship, with Lesotho finishing in third place.

The South African Junior Women’s National Team swept Botswana in a five-game continental championship series to become crowned the champions of Africa in the youth women’s category.

WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship 2019

The 16-team field for the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship 2019 is now complete, with South Africa and Botswana earning the right to represent the African continent in the global battle. The top men’s softball event this year will be held in Prague and Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, from 13-23 June, and will feature 12 of the top 13 teams in the world.

The National Teams qualified for the Men’s Softball World Championship are:
Africa (2): No. 12 South Africa, No. 13 Botswana.
Americas (6): No. 2 Canada, No. 5 Argentina, No. 6 United States, No. 8 Venezuela, No. 9 Mexico, No. 24 Cuba (wild card).
Asia (3): No. 3 Japan, No. 17 Philippines, No. 22 Singapore.
Europe (3): No. 7 Czech Republic, No. 11 Denmark, No. 19 Netherlands.
Oceania (2): No. 1 New Zealand, No. 4 Australia

WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Cup 2019

African champion South African and runner-up Botswana are the final nations to qualify for the WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Cup, which will be staged in Irvine, California, USA, from 11-17 August. Sixteen nations, including the world’s Nos. 1-11, will be competing the for the youth women’s world title:
Africa (2): No. 28 South Africa, No. 43 Botswana
Americas (5): No. 1 United States, No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 5 Mexico, No. 14 Brazil
Asia (3): No. 2 Japan, No. 6 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 China
Europe (4): No. 9 Italy, No. 10 Netherlands (wild card), No. 15 Czech Republic, No. 22 Ireland
Oceania (2): No. 7 Australia, No. 11 New Zealand

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World Baseball Softball President Issues End-Of-Year Address

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari today issued the following end-of-the-year address on behalf of the sport:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This past year showed that baseball and softball continue to gloablise, with the highest number of countries ever represented in the WBSC World Rankings. This is a strong and positive indication of the global activity and practice of our sport, which stages among the most, if not the most, national team international competitions per year than of any other sport.

Further signaling our sport’s global advancement and health, new baseball-softball and/or new urban Baseball5 construction projects have been announced or completed this year in Asia, Americas, Africa and Europe, in such places as France, Mozambique, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Tanzania, as well as Argentina and Colombia in South America, to cite a few. Focusing on our mission to reach a billion people over the next decade, the past year had a particular focus on development. To this end, the launch our new urban 5-on-5 street discipline Baseball5 has witnessed interest and adoption behind our expectations, and for which we are going to present new exciting competitions and development opportunities for our members.

Over the last 12 months, baseball and softball grown stronger together, with mergers at the continental level. European leaders launched WBSC Europe and leaders in Oceania established WBSC Oceania, with a shared vision to boost growth, streamline administration and oversee all disciplines across their respective territories. The Softball Confederation of Asia rebranded into Softball Asia.

Putting this continued evolution into perspective, baseball/softball is the biggest sport that is not permanently a part of the Olympic Games. In this regard, we will continue to listen and learn from the International Olympic Committee to ensure that our sport aligns with and propagates Olympic values, following the guiding principles of the Olympic Agenda 2020 of IOC President Thomas Bach.

2019 will be the biggest and most important years in the history of international baseball and softball with our many international competitions leading to our flagship ever Premier12, which will build toward the historic return of our sport at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari With WBSC Treasurer Angelo Vicini and WBSC VP Willi Kaltschmitt at WBSC Congress in Gaborone Botswana

Softball in Fukushima will be the opening competition for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and we must do everything we can from now until 2020 to support and show our solidarity with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 and their vision of harnessing the power of sport to bring hope, inspiration and joy to people in extremely challenging situations, not only in Fukushima but all over the world.

I congratulate everyone involved in the sport of baseball and softball — especially the athletes who are the stars who inspire the next generations to play and watch our sport — for growing our sport to record levels in 2018 and setting the stage for another record year next year.

And, on behalf of the WBSC Executive Board, the staff and in my name personally I take this opportunity to wish you all a serene holiday season.”

Riccardo Fraccari

World’s Top 12 nations qualified for WBSC Premier12 2019 major international baseball event

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today unveiled the qualified nations — the Top 12 ranked countries in the world — and the dates of the WBSC Premier12® 2019, with the flagship international baseball event in 2019 to be staged across 32 games and multiple countries from 2-17 November.

WBSC is also set to increase prize money distribution for the II WBSC Premier12 2019, following a successful inaugural edition in 2015. The Premier12 will also award the most world ranking points of any international baseball competition.

The Men’s National Teams from baseball’s best-ranked countries across four of the five Olympic continents will meet in the WBSC Premier12 2019, including No. 1 Japan, No. 2 United States of America, No. 3 Republic of Korea, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 5 Cuba, No. 6 Mexico, No. 7 Australia, No. 8 Netherlands, No. 9 Venezuela, No. 10 Canada, No. 11 Puerto Rico and No. 12 Dominican Republic.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “Congratulations to the top 12 teams in the world for qualifying into the Premier12. The inaugural WBSC Premier in 2015 was the most-watched international sports event of the year in host nations Chinese Taipei and Japan, and with two teams advancing from Premier12 to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 2019 Premier12 is set to exceed all previous benchmarks, while building excitement for Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Movement and the sport of baseball itself.”

The Premier12 2019 will allocate two spots for baseball’s historic Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games: the top nation in the final standing from the Asia/Oceania territory (not including already qualified Japan) and the top finisher from the Americas.

Multi-Nation Opening Round – 2-8 November

The 12 National Teams will be drawn into three groups of four (3×4) to start the global tournament, with Chinese Taipei, Korea and Mexico each hosting a group.

Super Round in Japan – 11-16 November

The top two finishers from each group will advance (and carry the head-to-head result between them) to the Super Round (Robin) at Japan’s Chiba Marine Stadium and the Tokyo Dome.

Tokyo Dome Finals – 17 November

The top two teams from the Super Round will compete in the Final at the Tokyo Dome, while the third- and fourth-place finishers will play in the bronze medal match.

Iconic Japanese baseball brand SSK will supply the Official Competition Ball of the WBSC Premier12.

The full Official Look and branding identity of the WBSC Premier12 2019 will be unveiled in a future press announcement.

Current world No. 3 Korea, with a roster filled with biggest stars in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) professional league, won the inaugural WBSC Premier12 in 2015.

WBSC Launches World Rankings Web Platform For Baseball, Softball

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today unveiled baseball and softball’s first-ever dedicated world rankings web platform at http://rankings.wbsc.org.

The new WBSC World Rankings website features robust functions such as tracking, trends, top climbers, charts, country-by-country comparisons, ranking by continent, points earned by each National Team/Federation per competition, methodology, and a world rankings news section in six languages — English, French, Japan, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said:

“Today marks a major milestone, as the baseball and softball world rankings web platform is now amongst the biggest of any sport.

“WBSC is proud to unveil this new innovative service for the worldwide baseball-softball community and all WBSC’s Members who have been requesting this.

“On the commercial side, the world rankings are amongst WBSC’s top generators of traffic as well as media and fan engagement, and we will soon be announcing a new rankings partner.”

WBSC oversees and manages baseball’s and softball’s official world rankings across four disciplines — men’s and women’s baseball, and men’s and women’s softball — and across 135 countries and territories.

Tracking of the WBSC World Rankings is available dating back to the inception of the Baseball World Rankings in 2009 and the launch of the Softball World Rankings in 2016.

With the launch of the new web platform, WBSC also released the final 2018 rankings in men’s baseball and women’s softball.

Japan, Canada, Chinese Taipei lead new WBSC Women’s Baseball World Rankings

The World Baseball Softball Confederation today unveiled the new WBSC Women’s Baseball World Rankings. The latest rankings reflect the results of over 100 matches from the Women’s Baseball World Cup across an evaluation period of 2014-2018.

Winners of the last six Women’s Baseball World Cups, Japan remains the most advanced nation and has scored the maximum 2000 points. The six-time defending World Champions currently carry a 30-game World Cup win streak and have held the No. 1 ranking since 2010.

Second in the world, Canada has finished in the top four of all eight editions of the Women’s Baseball World Cup, including a third-place finish this year at the VIII Women’s Baseball World Cup 2018 in Viera, Florida (USA).

New No. 3 Chinese Taipei made the biggest jump in the rankings, following the nation’s highest-ever World Cup finish, second place, in Viera. Chinese Taipei, now only three points behind No. 2 Canada, also came the closest to defeating Japan at the World Cup this year, falling by a score of 2-1 in the Opening Round.

The United States dropped one place to No. 4 in the world. After having medalled in each of the first six editions of the Women’s Baseball World Cup, USA finished fourth this year and seventh in 2016.

Venezuela maintained its No. 5 ranking, matching the South American country’s fifth-place finish in Viera.

Australia fell two places to No. 6, following a seventh-place finish in Viera that saw Australia knocked out of the Opening Round.

Cuba advanced two spots to No. 7, while follow Caribbean nations Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico made their debuts in the rankings at No. 9 and No. 12, respectively.

While Hong Kong scored a dramatic victory over Cuba at this year’s World Cup, the nation maintained its previous rank at No. 10.

Netherlands had the biggest drop in the rankings, falling three spots to No. 11, while No. 13 India and No. 14 Pakistan conclude the list of ranked nations.

To view all the WBSC World Rankings and formulas, visit http://www.wbsc.org/rankings.

Softball South Africa Named Country’s Sports Federation of The Year in Boost For Olympic Baseball Softball

Softball South Africa (SSA) has been named South Africa’s 2018 National Federation of the Year — the highest distinction a National Sports Federation can achieve in the country under Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Softball, roller sports and gymnastics were the three finalists in the category of National Federation of the Year at the 13th Annual South African Sports Awards in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The top federation award is based “on growing and developing sport in schools in the Republic of South Africa,” recognising softball’s universal popularity and appeal to young people, which has been given a recent boost in South Africa — and around the world — due to baseball and softball’s upcoming Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“This is a historic milestone for softball in South Africa,” said SSA President Mashilo Matsetela. “Even as the world becomes more digital, the sport of softball continues to appeal to both young people and school officials in South Africa and worldwide because it’s a stimulating activity that promotes leadership skills and teamwork within the same environment.”

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari said:

“Congratulations to Softball South Africa and President Matsetela. This tremendous honour reflects SSA’s successful strategy to target youth and grow the sport of softball in South Africa.

“Having held the WBSC Congress in Botswana last year, where softball is hugely popular, we are delighted to see that enthusiasm for the sport is spreading to neighbouring South Africa.”

Global Growth: 14 New Nations Enter WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings in 2018

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced a record 48 countries and territories are now featured in the new WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings, with 14 nations making their historic debuts.
Representing global expansion in the Americas, Asia and Europe, the new nations entering the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings include Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania, Malaysia, Peru, Slovakia, Sweden and Thailand.

“The addition of 14 new countries to the Men’s Softball World Ranking is yet another example of the global reach of this discipline,” said WBSC Softball Division Chairman, Tommy Velazquez. “Half of these new nations come from Europe, a continent that will host the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup 2019 for the first time in history; undoubtedly it will boost the growth of men’s softball around the world.”

The latest Men’s Softball World Rankings include 2018 results from the WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship in Prince Albert, Canada, the European Softball Championship in Havlickuv Brod, Kostelec nad Orlicí, Czech Republic, the Asian Softball Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia, the South American Softball Championship in Monteria, Colombia, and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.

All five Olympic continents – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania – have at least one representative featured within the Top 12 of the rankings — baseball/softball is one of the few global sports to have such a continental spread atop of the world rankings.

Top 3 spots spread across 3 continents: Oceania, Americas and Asia

The top three positions in the rankings are held by countries from three different continents. Oceania’s New Zealand is still the top-ranked nation (3,524 points), followed by Americas-representative Canada (3,388 points) and Asian nation Japan (3,384 points), who trails the No. 2 spot by only four points.

Australia climbed one position to fourth in the world, behind the Aussies’ first-place finish at the WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship 2018 in Prince Albert.

With ranking points having expired from the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship 2014, winner Argentina dropped one place and is now the fifth-ranked nation in the world.

No. 7 Czech Republic remains Europe’s top-ranked softball nation and sits only 15 points behind No. 6 United States. Both nations maintained their previous positions in the rankings.

New leader in Africa

Behind a 10th-place finish at the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship, South Africa advanced two spots to a historical high of 12th in the world, overtaking Botswana to become the top-ranked country in Africa.

The WBSC Softball World Rankings weigh a country’s National Team performance in WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a four-year period, including the Junior Men’s and Men’s Softball World Championships, multi-sport games, continental and regional championships, and friendly matches.

The web-based version and methodology of the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings can be found at http://www.wbsc.org/rankings.