Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania all represented in Top 10 of latest WBSC Baseball World Rankings

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today unveiled the newly updated WBSC Baseball World Rankings, which weigh a country’s National Team performance — from U-12 to Professional — in official WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a four-year period (2015-2018).

Underscoring baseball’s growing status as a major global team sport, representatives from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania are all present within the Top 10 of the WBSC Baseball World Rankings.

“These rankings show that baseball is being played at elite levels all around the world, including key targets like Europe and Oceania, with Africa’s development on the rise as well,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “This ongoing global growth will boost the case and excitement for baseball and softball’s long-term Olympic future beyond Tokyo 2020, looking toward Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.”

The new standings in the rankings reflect recent results and over 250 games from such events as the U-15 Baseball World Cup®, the Asian Games, the Central American and Caribbean Games, the East Asian Cup, the South American Baseball Championship, the U-18 and U-12 continental championships that were played in Asia and Europe, the U-12 Pan-Am Championship, and the Balkan Baseball Championship, in addition to international friendlies.

The United States – winner of the U-15 Baseball World Cup in David, Panama, and the U-12 Pan-Am Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico — remains atop the rankings, a position the Americas nation has held since February.

Japan, Korea and Cuba all maintained their previous positions within the Top 10, but No. 2 Japan has narrowed No. 1 USA’s lead (from 416 to 270 points) while moving further ahead of No. 3 Korea and No. 4 Cuba. Japan claimed the silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, earned bronze at the U-12 Asia Championship in Taipei, Taiwan, and finished fourth at the U-15 Baseball World Cup. Korea won the Asian Games and the U-18 Asia Championship, and finished in 2nd Place at the U-12 Asia Championship, but did not qualify for or earn ranking points from the U-15 Baseball World Cup.

To date, Chinese Taipei national teams have earned the most points in 2018, elevating the nation’s ranking from sixth to fifth in the world, exchanging places with Mexico. Chinese Taipei won the U-12 Asian Championship, claimed 2nd Place at the U-18 Asia Championship in Miyazaki, Japan, and earned the bronze medal at both the U-15 Baseball World Cup and Asian Games.

Europe’s top-ranked baseball nation, No. 7 Netherlands, winner of the inaugural European Super 6, advanced two places in the rankings, bypassing the now No. 8 Australia and idle/No. 9 Canada. Netherlands also finished in 8th Place at the U-15 Baseball World Cup, ahead of 9th Place Australia.

Puerto Rico – baseball gold medallists at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia – continues as the 10th ranked baseball nation in the world.

No. 11 Venezuela and No. 12 Dominican Republic remain at the critical cut-off point for qualifying into next year’s biggest and most exciting international competition, the II WBSC Premier12®, which is a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualifier. Baseball’s Top 12 ranked nations at the end of 2018 will compete in the global flagship Premier12, with the upcoming U-23 Baseball World Cup in Barranquilla and Monteria, Colombia, to serve as the last major opportunity to advance in the rankings.

Biggest gainers in 2018

  • No. 31 Indonesia +16
  • No. 41 Sri Lanka +11
  • No. 50 Chile +10
  • No. 58 Georgia +10
  • No. 34 Ukraine +9
  • No. 42 Ireland +9
  • No. 65 Nepal +8
  • No. 33 Philippines +7

Top teams in 2018 (most ranking points earned)

  1. Chinese Taipei: 645
  2. Japan: 636
  3. United States: 490
  4. Panama: 398
  5. Rep. of Korea: 376
  6. Cuba: 343
  7. China: 317
  8. Brazil: 287
  9. Netherlands: 261
  10. Dominican Republic: 254

The WBSC Baseball World Rankings web-based version and formula can be found at www.wbsc.org/rankings.

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New rules make first Women’s Baseball World Cup played on US soil more exciting

WBSC will test during the VIII Women’s Baseball World Cup a new set of rules.
“The twelve-second rule between pitches has been in use for some time now,” cleared WBSC Umpire Director Gustavo Rodriguez during the presentation press conference “But we will be using a clock on the field for the very first time.”

Players will have 90 seconds between half innings to get ready and managers will be able to declare an intentional walk.
The big change in the rules will be the introduction of instant replays. Every manager will have the possibility to challenge one decision of the umpiring crew. When a manager loses the challenge, in the sixth and seventh the decision to turn to instant replays will be left to the umpiring crew

Australia’s manager Simone Wearne seemed not too worried about the new rules.
“They are not going to affect the way we play. Baseball is baseball”.

20180821 Women Baseball World Cup Trophy and Medals

Japan is a five-time defending champion but Megumi Kitta is a first year manager.
“My English is very bad, but my players are very good,” she joked “We have a lot of twenty-year olds on the roster and three High School players.”
Taking over after five World Titles must put some pressure on you: “Well, everybody jokes with me about the possibility I may be the first losing manager after five wins, including my parents…”

Kitta San was joined during the press conference by star pitcher Ayami Sato, who has been the World Cup MVP for the last two editions.
“I am here to be the MVP for the third time in a row. I feel very good. I also have expanded my range of pitches.”

Canada finished second in 2016 and manager Andrè Lachance said: “It’s amazing how much this tournament has grown since the first edition in Edmonton.”

Carlos Torres is the manager of Venezuela, that won a bronze medal two years ago.
“It’s a honour to be here, representing my country. I am sure you are all aware of the sacrifices we had to do, to make this possible.”

Also USA’s Matt Weagle is a rookie manager. But he was on the staff for the last two World Cups as the pitching coach.
“It’s a real honour. I don’t take lightly the fact I am managing on USA soil and I want to thank everyone who made this possible. I can’t promise victories, but I can promise we will play hard.”

The VIII Women’s Baseball World Cup opens on Wednesday, 22 August, at Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida. The first two games (Dominican Republic-Japan and Chinese Taipei-Venezuela) are scheduled at 10 am (US Eastern time). The opening ceremony will start at 6 pm and will be followed by Puerto Rico-USA to close Day 1 of competition.

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Cuban Gracial hits two more homers in Japan

HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 23 (ACN) Cuban ballplayer Yurisbel Gracial hit two home runs today, thus amounting three in the last two matches, during the continuation of the regular stage in the Japanese Professional Baseball League (NPB).

According to the NPB official website, Gracial, who batted third in the line-up of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, first blasted a three-run homer in the very first frame to then hit another one in the ninth but this time with only one teammate on base for his squad, which finally beat 9-6 the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

The day before, the outstanding Cuban utility had achieved his first homer in NPB after being hired by the Hawks last February.

Now, he has batting average of .340 (18 hits in 53 AB), with three homers and 9 RBIs in the tough NPB Pacific League.

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, franchise in which also play Cubans Alfredo Despaigne (OF/DH), Livan Moinelo (LHP) and switch-hitter Oscar Colas, the latter is in the farm system, appear third in the standings in the Pacific League with 55 wins and 49 losses, behind the Seibu Lions (64-42) and the Fighters (57-50), in that order.

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U-15 Baseball World Cup down to 6 nations as WBSC announces Super Round schedule

DAVID, Panama – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced the Super Round schedule for the U-15 Baseball World Cup 2018 in Panama.

The global field has been cut in half, with six nations left competing For The Title of World Champion at Estadio Kenny Serracín in David.

Final Standings Opening Round U 15 Baseball World Cup 2018

Advancing from Group A are United States, Panama and Chinese Taipei, while Cuba, Japan and Dominican Republic advanced from Group B.

Wins/Losses against nations eliminated in the Opening Round will not carry into the Super Round.

Two-time defending U-15 World Champions Cuba enter the Super Round tomorrow (16 August) as the only undefeated nation.

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WBSC #U15WorldCup ⚾?
@WBSC

? Super Round schedule -- starts TOMORROW (Thursday, 16 August) !!!!!

The Super Round kicks off Thursday with continental rivalries, including Chinese Taipei versus Japan, Dominican Republic versus USA, and host Panama versus Cuba.

Friday’s action includes Chinese Taipei against the Dominican Republic, USA taking on Cuba and Panama facing Japan.

Saturday’s games will be highlighted by a battle between the No. 1 and 2 ranked nations in the world in USA and Japan, while Chinese Taipei takes on Cuba and Dominican Republic faces Panama.

Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Netherlands and South Africa will continue in the 7th-12th Place Consolation Round.

Global Live-Stream

All nine games of the Super Round will be available to global audiences via the WBSC YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wbsc.

For full event coverage, including news, live play-by-play, stats and standings, visit the official website of the U-15 Baseball World Cup at u15bwc.wbsc.org.

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Cuba, Panama 2-0 at U-15 Baseball World Cup; Aussies, Chinese Taipei earn first wins

Two-time defending U-15 World Champions Cuba as well as host Panama improved to 2-0 in the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup 2018, while Chinese Taipei and Australia both recorded their first wins of the global tournament.

Chinese Taipei 9, Brazil 7

With their backs against the wall, world No. 6 Chinese Taipei scored eight runs in the seventh inning to avoid an upset with No. 19 Brazil.

Down to their final three outs and trailing 5-1, Chinese Taipei used five walks, a hit batter and four hits, including a two-run single from Kuei Yu to even their record to 1-1.

Shan-Tsung Peng was awarded the victory with a scoreless inning of relief with one strikeout.

Sulivan Ribeiro de Almeida suffered the loss after Brazil starter Joāo Sakurai Ferreira worked four innings allowing just one run.

Australia 16, South Africa 6

Bash brothers James Nati and Jake Burns.

World No. 8 Australia received home runs from James Nati and Jake Burns to earn a 16-6 victory over No. 26 South Africa.

Quinn Johnson’s two-run single highlighted a five-run first inning for Australia and he would finish the game with five RBI while Burns added four.

South Africa made things interesting in the fifth, scoring five runs courtesy a Nicholas De Ascensāo two run single while Kyle Schwartz drove in three on a double.

Ian Lee was credited with the win for Australia while Nathan Grobler took the loss for South Africa.

Panama 2, China 1

Leonardo Bernal Carrion led off the top of the sixth with a triple and took home with two out on a wild pitch as No. 14 Panama edged No. 22 China, 2-1.

China took a 1-0 lead in the second when Tianzhou Zhu singled and later scored on an error before Panama drew even with a run in the fourth.

Alexis Bernal Vega recorded the win going four scoreless innings allowing just two hits and walk with eight strikeouts. China reliever Lei Wang suffered the loss.

Cuba 9, Dominican Republic 0

Cuba’s Osiel Veranes struck out 10 versus Dominican Republic Saturday.

Osiel Veranes struck out 10 batters over six scoreless innings and Frank Gonzalez Cuellar drove in two runs as No. 4 Cuba defeated No. 12 Dominican Republic, 9-0.

Leading 4-0 in the fifth, Cuba put across five runs including a two-run single from Montero to go ahead 9-0 and put the game out of reach.

Dominican Republic starting pitcher Julio Torres Guzman worked two innings and took the loss.

Opening Round action continues on 12 August with USA taking on Chinese Taipei, Germany facing China and Brazil against host Panama in Group A, while Group B match-ups include Netherlands against South Africa, Dominican Republic taking on Australia and Cuba facing Japan.

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The baseball stars who ignore MLB to stay loyal to Cuba ... and Canada

Cuban players can make millions if they defect to the United States but others prefer to plot a career path that will keep them close to their families.

Most of the year, Noelvis Entenza pitches in Havana’s historic Estadio Latinoamericano, a ballpark that shakes from the 55,000-capacity crowds and where the buzz of fans’ horns drowns out the players on the field.

But when Entenza’s season ends, he gets on a plane and flies north – to Kitchener, Ontario, where he pitches in front of crowds of a few hundred in a semi-professional baseball league a world away from his life as a star in Cuba’s National Series.

“In Cuba, it’s so crazy. Here, they sit quiet, like in church,” he says, through a translator.

Entenza, a 33-year-old right-hander for the Havana Industriales, is one of four Cubans playing in Canada this summer under a unique agreement with the Cuban baseball federation. While dozens of their former teammates have defected from Cuba in pursuit of millions in Major League Baseball, they’ve chosen to stay loyal to their country.

Entenza, Miguel Lahera, Jonder Martinez and Yorbis Borroto, all veterans from Cuba’s national team, play for the Kitchener Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League. But while they’re good enough to pursue much bigger paychecks in the US, they say there’s more at stake than just money.

“It’s a decision each person has to make. Every one is different,” said Entenza, who has watched teammates from Jose Abreu to Yasiel Puig to Lourdes Gurriel Jr flee for riches in the MLB.

These players, meanwhile, say they’re happy to be allowed to play abroad, without breaking any laws. After their season in Canada ends, they’ll return home to their families, and their respective Cuban teams.

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“Playing in the MLB is the dream, but we want to play legally,” said Borroto. “We play for our family and our country. To play for a million dollars and be away from Cuba, that’s a big change … We feel good to play in Cuba.”

Two years ago, there were great hopes things were improving. MLB and Cuba were discussing ways for Cuban players to sign with big league teams without having to defect. President Obama went to Havana to watch a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. Lahera, Martinez and Borroto all played in that game, and say they felt they were close to something historic.

“It was very emotional,” said Lahera, who has also pitched for Cuba in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. “I was proud to know we could play with major league players.”

“We came here because it’s a new experience. We wanted to show other countries that Cuban baseball is a good quality,” said Borroto, who plays for the Ciego de Avila Tigres in Cuba. “We wanted to get experience from another country and learn a different style to play.”

By coming to Canada, the four Cubans hope they’re starting something bigger, something that could eventually lead to other Cubans playing legally in the MLB.

Cuba seeking third straight WBSC Under-15 World Cup

Cuba will seek a third successive title when the World Baseball Softball Confederation's Under-15 Baseball World Cup begins in Panama tomorrow.

Action is due to take place over 10 days at the Estadio Kenny Serracín in David and the Estadio Rico Cedeño in Chitré.

Cuba, the six-time winners overall, will play in Group B alongside Japan, the tournament's second-ranked side.

They will be joined by South Africa, Australia, The Netherlands and the Dominican Republic.

Cuba are set to open their account tomorrow against the Dutch.

Hosts Panama are in Group A along with United States, the world's top-ranked team seeking a sixth tournament win but a first since 2011.

Chinese Taipei, Brazil, Germany and China complete the group.

The players taking part will be aged between 13 and 15.

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Cuba Gets Beaten for 5th Consecutive Time

Haarlem, The Netherlands, Jul 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuba suffered its fifth defeat in this baseball week after losing 2-12 to Taipei of China, knockout in seven innings, and will bid farewell to the tournament with the worst performance in the history of the contest.

The Cuban players only hit seven hits against two Asian pitchers, including a double by first baseman Sergio Barthelemy.

The Asian team connected 13 hits, including a homer of the designated Yi-Teng, four dobles and a triple.

The victory went to reliever Chih Jung Cheng, who in six chapters allowed two runs, gave three strikeouts and no tickets to four pitchers.

For Cuba, starter Dachel Duquesne charged with the defeat by earning equal amount of runs and three hits in two thirds of an inning.

The Caribbeans already lost in the fair against the Germans 4-5, Japanese (1-7), Italians (3-7) and Dutch (4-6) and will now play fifth place tomorrow with the loser of the game between Germans and Italians.

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