2019 WBSC Premier12 race is heating up, as international competition grows in excitement and prestige 

SANTO DOMINGO — New York Mets coach Luis Rojas will manage the world No. 12 Dominican Republic National Baseball Team in November’s WBSC Premier12, the top international baseball tournament of the year and Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier.

The highly regarded Rojas is the son of Dominican baseball legend Felipe Alou and brother of former six-time MLB All-Star Moises Alou.

The Dominican squad’s announcement follows the recent high-profile appointments of rivals Mexico, Puerto Rico and USA, who named Juan Castro, Juan Gonzalez and Joe Girardi as their respective managers in the WBSC Premier12 major international event, which will feature the Top 12 National Teams in baseball.

The top finisher from the Americas in the global tournament will advance directly into the Olympic baseball event at the Tokyo 2020 Games, bypassing the dedicated qualifiers in 2020.

The Dominican Republic will begin the global baseball battle in Group A, along with No. 2 USA, host No. 6 Mexico and No. 8 Netherlands. These four teams will go head-to-head at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara from 2-5 November. The Dominican Republic will open against Mexico.

The top two from the group will advance to the Super Round, 11-16 November, which will be played in Japan at Chiba’s ZOZO Marine Stadium and the Tokyo Dome.

In the inaugural Premier12 in 2015, the Dominican Republic finished in next-to-last place with a win-loss record of 0-5. The Dominican Baseball Federation (FEDOBE) has since launched a PROBEISBOL collaboration to boost their National Team programme and qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.