The 7-team Group A of the WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship (JMSWC) features Japan, Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Denmark, South Africa and India, including the only three world champion nations in the last 31 years, for a total of seven titles. All the Olympic continents are represented in this group.

Argentina, Australia, and Japan are natural contenders, not only to reach one of the top four spots in the Group A, but also to claim the Title of World Champions. Mexico is probably the other favorite to advance in the tournament. However, they will face fierce competition from Denmark, South Africa and India, who will try to end the event inside the top eight.

The 54 games will be available to watch live, or on demand, in the WBSC Official Channel in YouTube. You can see the full schedule here.

JAPAN

JMSWC Appearances: 11

Highest finish: Champion (1981 and 2016)

2016 finish: Champion

Ranking: 3

Japan is the defending World Champion, after their impressive performance in Midland, USA, two years ago, ending unbeaten with eight wins. It was their second world championship title, after winning the first ever world championship in 1981. The Japanese team is only one of the three nations to be present in every JMSWC.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 19:30 – vs Argentina

8 July, 17:00 – vs Denmark

9 July, 17:00 – vs Mexico

10 July, 17:00 – vs South Africa

11 July, 12:30 – vs India

12 July, 17:30 – vs Australia

 

ARGENTINA

JMSWC Appearances: 10

Highest finish: Champion (2012 and 2014)

2016 finish: 4th

Ranking: 4

Argentina shocked the world in 2012 winning the crown undefeated in home soil, and then repeated the title in Whitehorse 2014. In 2016 they finished in fourth place, despite winning all the games in the round robin. It will be their 11th participation in this event. They only missed the tournament in 1989. Argentina hasn’t lost a JMSWC round robin game in 10 years, since they went undefeated in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 19:30 – vs Japan

8 July, 19:30 – vs Australia

9 July, 17:30 – vs South Africa

10 July, 12:30 – vs Denmark

11 July, 20:00 – vs Mexico

12 July, 12:30 – vs India

 

AUSTRALIA

JMSWC Appearances: 8

Highest finish: Champion (1997, 2001, 2005 and 2008)

2016 finish: 6th

Ranking: 5

Australia is the most successful program in history with four consecutive world championships. The Aussie team didn’t play in the first three editions of this event, so it will be their ninth presence in the JMSWC. Counting round robin and playoff games, Australia has an impressive overall record of 71-17 in the event.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 15:00 – vs India

8 July, 19:30 – vs Argentina

9 July, 14:30 – vs Denmark

10 July, 19:30 – vs Mexico

11 July, 15:00 – vs South Africa

12 July, 17:30 – vs Japan

 

MEXICO

JMSWC Appearances: 10

Highest finish: 3rd (1981)

2016 finish: 8th

Ranking: 9

The always dangerous Mexican team will be on the conversation for a playoff spot. Usually a powerful offensive team, Mexico is capable of winning a game against any team in the world. They arrive to Prince Albert looking to get back on the podium, in their eleventh participation in this tournament. In 2016 they made the playoffs but couldn’t advance, losing against Australia, 5-1, in the first playoff round.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 10:00 – vs Denmark

8 July, 12:30 – vs India

9 July, 17:00 – vs Japan

10 July, 19:30 – vs Australia

11 July, 20:00 – vs Argentina

12 July, 15:00 – vs South Africa

 

DENMARK

JMSWC Appearances: 5

Highest finish: 8th (2012)

2016 finish: 11th

Ranking: 11

Denmark will play its sixth consecutive JMSWC, with one goal in mind: qualify for the playoffs for the second time in history. Their best performance was in Parana 2012, when they finished in the eight position. In 2016 they couldn’t get a single win in the round robin; they earned their only victory of the tournament in the placement round.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 10:00 – vs Mexico

7 July, 14:00 – vs South Africa

8 July, 17:00 – vs Japan

9 July, 14:30 – vs Australia

10 July, 12:30 – vs Argentina

11 July, 17:30 – vs India

 

South Africa

JMSWC Appearances: 3

Highest finish: 6th (1997)

2016 finish: 10th

Ranking: 14

South Africa is the only representative from Africa, and will participate for the fourth time in the JMSWC, the second consecutive. Their best performance was in their debut, in 1997, when they earned the sixth place. They seek to advance to the playoffs for the first time in history. In 2016 they were only one win away from doing it.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 14:00 – vs Denmark

9 July, 12:30 – vs India

9 July, 17:30 – vs Argentina

10 July, 17:00 – vs Japan

11 July, 15:00 – vs Australia

12 July, 15:00 – vs Mexico

 

India

JMSWC Appearances: 1

Highest finish: 11th (2012)

2016 finish: n/a

Ranking: 16

The JMSWC 2018 will mark the second participation of India in this event. They made their debut six years ago, in Parana 2012, finishing in the eleventh place. They will try to clinch their second win in history, defying the more experienced teams in the group to get closer to the playoffs.

Round robin schedule:

7 July, 15:00 – vs Australia

8 July, 12:30 – vs Mexico

9 July, 12:30 – vs South Africa

11 July, 12:30 – vs Japan

11 July, 17:30 – vs Denmark

12 July, 12:30 – vs Argentina