SYDNEY – The search for Australia’s best baseball players aged 19 to 23 years old is complete. Baseball Australia, the national governing body, announced a World Cup roster filled with pro talent from the Australian Baseball League and Major League Baseball affiliates, as well as the top Aussies playing college ball. Click here to view Australia’s U-23 National Team World Cup Roster

Oceania representative Australia is pitted in Group B of the II WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup, which opens next week (Friday, 19 October) in Barranquilla and Monteria, Colombia. In Monteria, the Aussies will take on No. 11 Venezuela, No. 18 Czech Republic, No. 12 Dominican Republic, No. 3 Korea and No. 10 Puerto Rico, with the top three teams from the group advancing to the Super Round.

Seven Aussie players, including Detroit Tigers prospect Zac Shepherd, will again represent the country after finishing second in the world and claiming the silver medal at the 2016 U-23 Baseball World Cup in Mexico behind skipper Tony Harris. In 2016, Australia defeated powerhouses Panama, Korea and Chinese Taipei en route to making it to the Final against then world No 1. Japan.

Harris will take seven members of Australia’s 2017 U-18 Baseball World Cup roster to battle in Colombia, including Milwaukee Brewers prospects Jess Williams and Alex Hall.

Williams said: “We’ve retained a number of key athletes from our 2016 campaign and added some new faces with experience at the international level. We are grateful for the cooperation of many college and professional organisations who have made their players available for the U-23 Baseball World Cup.”

Australia is aiming to arrive on the podium again in Colombia and to secure a place at the flagship Premier12 2019, which is the first opportunity to earn a direct ticket into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.