World number 19 Brasil and world number 20 Argentina are the teams to beat in the eighteenth edition of the South America Baseball Championship. The winner will advance to the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima, Peru.
The tournament takes off in Estadio Nacional de Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, on Saturday, 15 April (3.30 pm local time, 8.30 pm CET), with a matchup between the hosts Argentina and world number 59 Bolivia.
The favorites will face each other on Sunday, in the second day of the 4 team round robin. World number 54 Chile, the fourth participant, will play the same day play against Bolivia.
After the round robin, on Saturday 21 April, the top 2 teams will play for the title and the number 3 and 4 seed will play for third place.
Manuel Villa Ortega from Colombia will manage Los Gauchos, the National Team of Argentina. Cuban pitching coach Amaro Costa Blanco is part of the staff. Argentina will field an experienced team. The best known player on the roster is utility man (he can pitch, play the infield and catch) Mauro Schiavoni, who played in the Cincinnati Reds organization and in the Italian Baseball League (IBL). Ortega’s number one starter should be Ezequiel Cufré (born 1989, played in Italian Minor Leagues). His top reliever is going to be 39 year old left hander Guido Monis. Both players starred for the second place team in the South America Championship 2016.
Andre Rienzo, who will be 30 in July, is the manager for Brasil. As a player, he was the first Brazilian born pitcher to reach Major League Baseball (MLB) and is currently a free agent.
Pitchers Kimura and Januario played Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the USA and represented Brazil in WBSC U-18 and U-23 World Cups. Other World Cup alumni are pitchers Villas Boas and Kitayama.
Ian Sommerville Junior (born 1991) is the third member of his family (after his father Ian Senior andd his brother James) to be named the manager of Chile’s Baseball National Team. He presented himself with a bold statement: “We are competing for gold”.
Sommerville fields a very young side. Chile expects to be truly competitive for the 2023 Pan Am Games in Santiago.
Bolivia will participate with a roster of only 16 players. Manager Rodrigo Monje is aware of a young and renewed roster, but feels he is dealing with talent and shows confidence.
The South America Baseball Championship was founded in 1957 by the Confederacion Sudamericana de Béisbol. Brasil is the defending champion and has the most titles: 7. Venezuela (ranked world number 11) and Colombia (16), the power houses of the Region, haven’t participated since 2015.
PAST WINNERS on Wikipedia