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XVII Men's Softball World Cup 2022 - Official Payoff

XVII Men’s Softball World Cup - Group B Preview: Six of the top-11 nations in the world set for tight contest

XVII Men’s Softball World Cup - Group B Preview: Six of the top-11 nations in the world set for tight contest
16/11/2022
With 12 teams from around the world gathering in Auckland from 26 November to 4 December, here's a rundown of what to expect from the six teams in Group B. The top three teams from each group will advance to the Super Round.

The XVII WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup will be staged at Rosedale Park in Auckland, New Zealand, from 26 November to 4 December with 11 of the top-12 teams in the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings set to face each other in a nine-day battle for the title of world champion.

For Group B, it's expected to feature very tight games and tough competition, with six of the top-11 nations in the World Rankings facing each other for the three available Super Round spots. 

World No. 2 Japan, the top seeded nation in the group, brings eight veterans from the 2019 silver-medal team including the two aces of the pitching staff: Reo Koyama and two-way player Hikaru Matsuda - who was named 2019 WBSC Softball Player of the Year. Japan aims to win their first ever Men’s Softball World Championship, after winning two silver medals (2000 and 2019) and one bronze (1996) in 16 previous appearances.

Four-time world champions and world No. 3 Canada will be led by ace Sean Cleary and outfielder Brad Ezekiel, along with seven more veterans from the 2019 bronze-medal winning squad. Canada is tied with New Zealand as the top medal winner in the history of the event with 13, failing only three times to reach the podium (the last time in 2013, in Auckland). 

Adam Folkard and Nick Shailes, who were an integral part of Australia’s 2009 World Champion team, will be the most experienced players in the Aussie Steelers team, in their quest for a fifth World Cup medal. The team, that finished seventh in the last edition of the event, includes four WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup debutants in Jack Besgrove, Riley James, Jack Burt and Matthew Harrow.

No. 9 Venezuela received the wild card to participate in this event, after failing to qualify in the Americas Qualifier. Lefty Erick Urbaneja and catcher Rafael Flores are the veteran presence in the Venezuelan team, that has played in the WBSC Men's Softball World Cup nine times, including the last eight editions. Urbaneja will play his seventh World Championship. Venezuela has only medalled twice previously - losing to New Zealand in the 2013 final in Auckland and claiming bronze in the following edition in Saskatoon, Canada in 2015.

Kim Hansen, Jens Terkelsen and Lukas Lohmann, the three Denmark pitchers in the 2019 Men’s Softball World Cup, return for another campaign with their national team. The red and white team, ranked No. 10 in the world, advanced as the second team in the European Championship 2021 and aims to advance to the World Cup playoffs for the first time in their eighth participation.

World No. 11 South Africa, hosts of the X Men’s Softball World Cup in 2000, will represent the African continent after beating rivals Botswana in the final of the African Championship. Tidima Kekana, who handled most of the workload of the South African pitching staff in the last two editions in 2017 and 2019, is set to play his fifth World Cup, and will be the veteran voice in the dugout. South Africa has played in 10 editions of the Men's Softball Cup with a best finish of seventh in Lower Hutt in 1976.

WBSC Men's Softball World Cup Historic Results