The World Baseball Softball Confederation today awarded four nations from the Americas a qualification into the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup® 2019 in Gijang, Republic of Korea, following the Confederation of Pan American Baseball (COPABE) U-18 Championship that concluded yesterday in Chitre, Panama.

Champion United States, second-place Panama, third-place Canada and fourth-place Nicaragua finished atop the Pan Am Baseball Championship standings, which began with 15 nations across the Americas, including Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. The U.S. U-18 National Team defeated Panama 17-2 in the final, while Canada defeated Nicaragua 5-3 to claim the bronze medal.

The top four nations in the Americas, and in good standing, earn the right to compete For the Title of World Champion at the U-18 Baseball World Cup – one of the top youth world championships in sports and the highest-level baseball competition in its age group.

“Congratulations to the defending champions of the American continent, the United States, as well Panama, Canada and Nicaragua,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “These premier baseball nations from the Americas and their best young players have earned the right to compete for the world title next year, and in all four countries, baseball is the national sport or played at the highest level, which will add great excitement and fan engagement to the U-18 World Cup in Gijang, Korea, where baseball is also the top sport.”

Only two open places remain available in the 12-nation U-18 Baseball World Cup, with the Oceania territory still to be disputed and a wild card yet to be assigned.

In July, European U-18 champion Netherlands and runner-up Spain became the first nations to qualify for the U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019. In September, Korea won the Asian crown, with Chinese Taipei and Japan qualifying in second- and third-place, respectively. In October, South Africa went unopposed to claim the continent’s lone berth.

Gijang-Hyundai Dream Ballpark, the largest baseball-theme park in Korea, will be the stage of the XXIX U-18 Baseball World Cup. The Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) will host one of WBSC’s jewel events in collaboration with Gijang County and the nation’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The successful staging of the U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 in Thunder Bay, Canada, helped the Thunder Bay International Airport break its all-time monthly passenger record for the month of August, while generating a CAD$ 6.3 million economic impact on the city of Thunder Bay and multi-millions in brand exposure for sponsors and commercial partners.

The U-18 Baseball World Cups, along with its continental qualifiers, have consistently featured players who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Japan’s Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani; Korea’s Shin-soo Choo; Cuba’s Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman; and Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado and Buster Posey, who all played for USA’s U-18 National Team.

Final Standings – U-18 Pan American Baseball Championship 2018

  1. United States
  2. Panama
  3. Canada
  4. Nicaragua
  5. Venezuela
  6. Dominican Republic
  7. Mexico
  8. Colombia
  9. Brazil
  10. Cuba
  11. Argentina
  12. Honduras
  13. Guatemala
  14. Peru
  15. Bahamas