Busan, KOREA– The USA hasn’t lost a game on the world stage in the U-18 age bracket since 2015 and skipper Jack Leggett admits his team is “well balanced”, but during the pre-event press conference of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, there were five more managers who flirted with the possibility of earning a World Title.
Australia’s Steve Fish said his expectation was “to be competitive against the best teams”.
Greg Hamilton, the veteran Canada’s skipper, said he wanted his team to be “competitive until the end”.
According to Japan’s Yuji Nagata, the strength of the young Samurai is “teamwork”.
Sung Lee, the manager of the hosts Korea, spoke about his team making the final of the 2017 edition in Thunder Bay: “Now we are the host Nation, I dream of finishing first”.
Panama’s manager Dimas Ponce said that his National Team aims to a medal: “We have a complete team and I think we can compete for gold.”
The term ‘compete’ was all over the place at the press conference.
Chinese Taipei relies on speed and defence but manager Tsung Chih Chou didn’t set a specific goal: “We will try to do our best every game.”
Chinese Taipei can still prove a contender for a spot in the super round and the same can be said about The Netherlands. Manager Eric De Bruin wants his players to “compete at their best.”.
Nicaragua has good pitching, according to manager Jose Padilla: “It’s a great honour to be here, now we want to compete for our Country.”
Wild Card China takes the U-18 World Cup “very seriously”, but manager Wei Li admitted during the press conference “a gap” with the top Nations.
South Africa’s Dean McKinon said that his team has done “a serious preparation” for the World Cup and that he hopes to head back home “with a couple of wins,” in order “to put our Country and our players on the baseball map.”
Last but not least, Spain’s manager Jose Luis Riera believes that defence his the strength: “We worked a lot on the mental side. I want to see the guys compete until the end, even if the score is not what they hoped.”
WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt opened the U-18 Baseball World Cup pre-event press conference at the Shilla Stay Haeundae Hotel saying that the organization had very fond memories of a very successful Women’s World Cup, that Korea hosted in 2016 in the same location.
“Some of the players we have here,” added Schmidt “will become the baseball superstars of the future.”
Schmidt and WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low unveiled the tournament trophy.
The WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019 will take off on Friday, 30 August. Full reports, play-by-play, stats and live streaming are available at the tournament’s official WEB PAGE