2019: U-12 Softball World Cup - WBSC makes huge step on gender equality with first-ever mixed event

2019: U-12 Softball World Cup - WBSC makes huge step on gender equality with first-ever mixed event
Four National Teams made history in July 2019, participating in the first-ever WBSC U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup. Czech Republic, Indonesia, Peru and Chinese Taipei, played the historic tournament at the Gueiren Baseball Stadium, in Tainan City, from 26-30 July. The event was held simultaneously with the U-12 Baseball World Cup.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said initiatives like the U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup "help solidify WBSC's position in the global sports movement" while WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low said: “We have to keep thinking outside the box and breaking barriers. We are now not only the only International Federation and global sport to have a World Cup for the U12 category but also in a mixed team U12 format. With an equal number of boys and girls playing in a team, we have true gender equality.”

This was the key reaction from WBSC leaders to the launch in July of one of the most progressive events on the international sports calendar. The WBSC U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup is a newly launched world cup format designed to further boost gender equality across all WBSC disciplines.

2019 Series: Year in Review
U-12 Softball Mixed World Cup - WBSC makes huge step on gender equality with first-ever mixed event
U-12 Baseball World Cup - Chen hits Chinese Taipei home in new home for U-12 baseball
Softball Olympic Qualifiers - Mexico in Olympics for first time as softball field complete
Baseball Olympic Qualifiers - Israel's historic first time in Olympic baseball tournament
Development - Africa Dev Programme & Women’s Baseball lead impressive year of growth
Premier12 - The “biggest int’l baseball event in recent history”
WBSC - Huge year sets up foundation for bright future
Baseball5 - Continues to spread like "wildfire"
President Fraccari: “2019 - The biggest year in int’l baseball, softball history”
Men’s Softball World Championship - Argentina clinch historic title as Europe hosts for first time
Chinese Taipei wins U-12, U-18 Baseball World Cups, Asian Championship, Fed of the Year

With many new initiatives on and off the field, the WBSC U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup is also aimed at attracting a brand new audience. WBSC Secretary General Low added: “WBSC is very happy to have held this new mixed team format for softball".

Four teams - Chinese Taipei, Peru, Czech Republic and Indonesia - featured in the inaugural edition, which was held alongside the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup, with squads including 14-16 players aged 10 to 12 years. Key rules include each team having at least four females and four males on the field of play at any one time, with a batting line-up alternating five female and five male players. There were no pitch counts while a facemask in defense is mandatory for all athletes (male and female) playing 3rd base, 1st base or pitcher.

Off the field, Pokémon characters had a special presence at the U-12 World Cups in Tainan, engaging with fans and being a part of #selfies. In addition, fans could purchase co-branded souvenirs, such as hats and t-shirts, featuring many of the famous Pokémon characters.

Before the tournament, WBSC unveiled the trophy and medals at a cultural event held at the Performance Hall of the city Cultural Center. All U-12 National Teams participating in the two tournaments (baseball and softball) attended. They were made familiar with WBSC U-12 World Cup Ambassador Pokemon.

U12 Trophy


“WBSC is the only International Federation that stages World Cups for this age bracket and this makes us proud,” said WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt, “but our biggest thank you goes to the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, the long-standing host of the U-12 Baseball World Cup, and the city of Tainan.”

After three days of round-robin play the top two National Teams, Chinese Taipei and Peru, advanced to the final For the Title of World Champion, while the Czech Republic and Indonesia played for a bronze medal.

U12 Bracket


Hosts Chinese Taipei were crowned as the first-ever WBSC U-12 Softball World Champion, winning the final over Peru by a score of 3–2. Peru took a 1–0 lead in the second inning but in the bottom of the third inning Lin Wei-Chi hit a go-ahead 2 RBI double. Lin scored himself to close the inning with Chinese Taipei ahead 3–1. Peru eventually managed one more run in the fifth to move the score to 3–2 but that is as close as it got.

For Chinese Taipei, the win represented its first-ever gold medal at the global level, and their fifth softball world cup podium after winning two flagship Women’s Softball World Cup medals (silver in 1982, bronze in 2002); and a pair of bronzes (1999 and 2011) at the U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup. On the other hand, it was the first medal in history for Peru.

The Czech Republic defeated Indonesia, 8-1, and claimed the nation's first-ever medal. An inside the park grand slam by Adrien Spacek in the bottom of the third was the key play of the game.

Such was the success of the inaugural edition, more countries and territories are set to be involved with the WBSC Softball Executive Board having approved to increase the number of participating teams from four to eight for the WBSC U-12 Softball World Cup in 2021 and 2023.