Tokyo 2020: WBSC working very close with the IOC

Tokyo 2020: WBSC working very close with the IOC
21/11/2019
“We’re positive that the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG), together with the WBSC, will deliver very good Olympic Games, especially for our sports, so the fans and our athletes can enjoy a once in a lifetime experience,” said WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt in his address to the WBSC Congress.

During the 3rd WBSC Congress in Sakai, Japan, the WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt addressed the delegates to inform about the progress of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organization. 

“We’re working very closely with the International Olympic Committee. We’re very close to have perfect conditions and be ready for the Games in less than one year,” said Schmidt. 

The softball competition will be a six-team tournament playing a regular round robin, with the first and second teams competing for the gold medal, and third and fourth place playing for bronze. Six of the 17 games will be played in Fukushima, with the rest of the matches staged in Yokohama.

For baseball, the six teams will be allocated into two groups. After the Opening Round, all six teams will advance to a double-elimination bracket to define the three medal winners. One game will be staged in Fukushima, while the other 16 will be played in Yokohama.

“Hopefully, our stadiums will be fully packed, or almost complete, for all the games. Both stadiums have been renewed,” added Schmidt. “In Fukushima the field of play is new, replacing natural grass with turf; while in Yokohama new bleachers and luxury suites were added.”

The Test Event was held in Fukushima from 5-6 October, with four games of the Japanese Women’s Softball League. The field looked in a very good condition, and WBSC had the opportunity to test its operational plan, with excellent results in general term, Schmidt said. 

“We’re positive that the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG), together with the WBSC, will deliver very good Olympic Games, especially for our sports, so the fans and our athletes can enjoy a once in a lifetime experience.”



The WBSC Development Commission funded 75 projects in 2018, 2019

The WBSC Development Commission funded 75 projects in 2018, 2019
21/11/2019
Chairman Angelo Vicino presented the overall results of the Development Commission to the Congress. The Commission evaluated 90 projects in 2018-2019, approved 75 and rejected only 4, while 11 are still through the evaluation process

National Federations submitted a total of 90 different projects to the WBSC Development Commission throughout the period of 2018-2019 of which 75 (83%) were accepted and funded, and only four rejected, while 11 projects are still going through the approval process.

The majority of the requests (39) came from European National Federations, while 20 came from Africa, 12 from Asia, 10 from the Americas and nine from Oceania.

Chairman, and WBSC Treasurer, Angelo Vicini, presented the figures of the activity during the Congress. "The majority of the requests came for equipment, clinics for coaches and clinics for umpires and scorers," commented Vicini. "We will have to evaluate the real needs and how the equipment will be used before we distribute it in the future."

Vicini also informed the Congress that the highest amount of funding went directly to the Continental Confederations. "I will repeat what President Fraccari said. Continental Confederations are the key to development. We are happy to see how they are now more involved, but the Development Commission still needs more cooperation."

While the WBSC Executive approved a budget of $1,190,000 to support development in 2018 and 2019, a total $676.491 was allocated. "Besides these financial resources," added Vicini, "another amount of $439.317 has been allocated for the development of Baseball5."

"Various National Federations are starting to get familiar with the procedure," added Vicini on a final note. "We will need a more efficient information exchange process between WBSC Office, Continental Organisations, Commission Chair and Commission Members."

The Congress also received reports from the Coach Commission as well as presentations on Baseball5, the website and WBSC Scoring Application following the Open Workshops, which were reported on yesterday.



Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games highlight a year full of global events

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games highlight a year full of global events
21/11/2019
WBSC Events Manager Joan Garcia thanked and praised all the local organizing committees for the hard work and efforts hosting a baseball softball world cup last year

During the 3rd WBSC Congress, the WBSC Events Manager Mr Joan Garcia made a review of the baseball and softball events over the past two years and announced the global tournaments to be held in 2020, highlighted by the return of both disciplines to the Olympic Programme.

The Olympic softball event will officially open the competitions on 22 July. The six-team competition will be played from 22-28 July in Fukushima and Tokyo, while the baseball competition will be played from 29 July to 8 August. Six teams will participate in each event.

Mexico will host a total of four events next year, including three baseball World Cups. The first will be the U-15 Baseball World Cup, slated to be played in July in Tijuana. Besides, the U-23 Baseball World Cup, which will take place from 2-11 October in Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon and Los Mochis, Mexico has also been named as host of the Women’s Baseball World Cup, to be played in Monterrey in October.

One of the best novelties of the 2020 tournament season will be the first-ever Baseball5 World Cup and the U-15 Baseball5 World Cup. Both events will be played simultaneously in Mexico, in a city to be confirmed at a later stage.

For softball, 2020 will also be a historic year, not only for the Olympic return but also because WBSC will organize the first-ever U-18 Softball World Cups, both for Men and Women. The U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup will be held in New Zealand, from 22 February to 1 March, with the participation of 12 teams. Meanwhile, the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup will be played in Lima, Peru, marking the first-ever softball World Cup held in the South American nation.

Mr Garcia also made a quick review of the 17 events held in 2018 and 2019, pointing out the challenges of organizing so many tournaments.

The highlight of these two years was the Premier12 2019, which was played for the first time in four different countries, including Mexico, the first-ever American country to host a Premier12 game or group. This demonstrates the growth and globalization of the tournament, just in its second edition," Mr Garcia said.

A lot of changes were introduced during the past two years, including the inclusion of the technical commissioner role for softball events, the video replay system for baseball World Cups and the introduction of the pitching and warm-up clocks in baseball competitions. All of them with the objective to modernize and improve the game.

Finally, Garcia thanked and praised all the local organizing committees for the hard work and efforts hosting a baseball softball World Cup last year.



WBSC President Fraccari: "We are a fantastic sporting family"

WBSC President Fraccari: "We are a fantastic sporting family"
21/11/2019
The opening speech of the third WBSC Congress focused on globalization and the need of making the games of baseball and softball up to date and appealing for the younger generations

"More than two years have passed since the Botswana Congress. There are no more than eight months left until the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games."

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addressed the third WBSC Congress talking about what baseball and softball need to do in order to become permanent members of the Olympic Programme: "The globalization of baseball and softball and the quality of our tournaments."

"Globalisation is synonymous with development," Fraccari said. "In the last few months, we have worked hard to include baseball and softball in the Continental Games. I also think about the Asian Games in 2022 in Hangzhou, China, and the Pan American Games in 2023 in Santiago, Chile."

Fraccari commented: "It was not easy. These difficulties derive precisely from the meagre development of our disciplines in the countries that will host these Continental Games."

The WBSC President also emphasised the role of the Continental Associations: "We must redefine and strengthen the role of the Continental Associations, think of a revision of our Statutes in order to have them actively present in the WBSC Executive." The goal is to "design and implement together a really comprehensive and thorough development plan."

Fraccari praised the "articulated marketing and restructuring" of WBSC events. The resources that come from the event have been used to consolidate "our sport and disciplines in some countries" and even "created the basis for the birth of new federations."

"Development," added Fraccari, "involves another fundamental aspect: youth appeal and youth involvement." He then quoted IOC President Thomas Bach: "we must anticipate change in order to drive it, otherwise we will have to chase the change.

"We have to think about whether our disciplines are still attractive today. We know well that today young people live and consume sport differently from the past.

"Here then is the need for our games to be faster, shorter. The need to dress the sporting events with collateral initiatives. Any simple game shall turn into an event."

President Fraccari spoke about the commitment of the WBSC to use new media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as communications instruments. "Across our social platforms combined we touched over 300 million people. Thanks to exclusive partnerships with Twitter in Japan and Facebook in USA, Canada and Mexico, Premier12 doubled its social media reach from its previous and already impressive inaugural edition."

"Another interesting figure," continued Fraccari "is the over 16,000 articles published by conventional media on the Premier12 during competition time. This means over 1,000 articles a day just about our flagship event."

"Today more than ever it is essential that our competitions, above all the major ones,
are capable of producing resources to spread and develop our disciplines," said Fraccari. "Otherwise all our projects will remain on paper only. We have paid particular attention on how to generate resources on our own. Today, thanks to a scrupulous management of our federation and to a rigorous use of our resources, we can say that we have reached an economic stability that allows us to look to the future with a little more serenity."

On a final note, Fraccari said: "Together with our baseball and softball sporting platform and exciting competitions we can continue to move forward and provide first-class events that will increasingly globalise our disciplines, attract new sponsors, generate more resources but above all will develop the baseball and softball athletes of the future. We are a fantastic sporting family."



Hideki Nagafuji, Mayor of Sakai City: “It’s a great honour to host this Congress”

Hideki Nagafuji, Mayor of Sakai City: “It’s a great honour to host this Congress”
21/11/2019
“Please accept my wishes for the best success on the Congress and further prosperity for baseball and softball.”

The 3rd WBSC Congress officially opened on Thursday , with the Mayor of the City of Sakai, Hideki Nagafuji, delivering a welcome speech to the 330 delegates present at the Agora Regency Hotel.

“Welcome to Sakai. Baseball is very popular here in Sakai city. The city has produced a lot of professional baseball players. It’s a great honour to host this Congress here, in our city,” said Mr Nagafuji.

“Next year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in Japan. Please accept my wishes for the best success on the Congress and further prosperity for baseball and softball”.

Finally, Mr Nagafuji invited the WBSC members from around the world to enjoy the city and its attractions. “Our city has also many cultural attractions for our unique history, such as our handcrafted knives, the tea ceremony, or the matcha green tea. You can also join our city tours to know Sakai. It would be my great pleasure if you come back again in the future to enjoy Sakai. Thank you very much for being here.”



WBSC draw confirms groups, schedules for Baseball Americas Qualifier, Final Baseball Qualifier

WBSC draw confirms groups, schedules for Baseball Americas Qualifier, Final Baseball Qualifier
20/11/2019
The winners of the Baseball Americas Qualifier and the Baseball Final Qualifier will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today revealed the groups and schedule for the Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier, and the schedule of the Baseball Final Qualifier, following a live draw conducted at Hotel Agora Regency Sakai, in Sakai, Japan, on the eve of the 3rd WBSC Congress.

“After today’s draw, all the teams know their Road to Tokyo 2020,” said WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low. “The excitement and expectation for the historic baseball return to the Olympic Games will escalate with these two qualifiers, setting the table for an unforgettable baseball event in Tokyo 2020.”

WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier

Group A: No. 2 USA, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 12 Dominican Republic, No. 15 Nicaragua

Group B: No. 5 Cuba, No. 9 Venezuela, No. 10 Canada, No. 14 Colombia

The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will be held in Arizona, USA, from 22-26 March.

The 12-game Opening Round will be played from 22-24 March, and the top two teams of each group will advance to the Super Round carrying the result of the game played between each other. The top National Team in the tournament final standings will gain a berth for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Baseball Final Qualifier

The WBSC also announced the schedule of games of the six-team WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier, to be held in Taichung, Taiwan, from 1-5 April.

World No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 Netherlands, No. 20 China, the top finisher of the Oceania Pre Qualifier and second and third place of the Americas Qualifier will play a single round robin for the final spot in the Olympic Games.

The winners of the Baseball Americas Qualifier and the Baseball Final Qualifier will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition.



Empowering Federations - WBSC Open Workshops a great success

Empowering Federations - WBSC Open Workshops a great success
20/11/2019
Participation proved high for all four Open Workshops - the Coach Commission Project, the Scoring Application, the Website and OTT Platform and above all the development of Baseball5.

Sakai, Japan - Empowering the member federations was the tagline for the WBSC Open Workshops held on Wednesday, on the eve of the third WBSC Congress, at the Hotel Agora Regency Sakai and they responded accordingly with packed rooms across all four topics - Coach Commission Project, Scoring Application, Baseball5 and Website/OTT Platform.

The most number of participants attended the Workshop on Baseball5, the urban version of Baseball Softball that WBSC has developed over the past couple of years.

Baseball5 has enjoyed unprecedented success. The third discipline recognized by WBSC has already spread to 69 countries, 19 developing the new game on their initiative. A total of 29 global coaching programmes have been activated.

Ayaku Rokkaku, a four-time Women's Baseball World Champion and MVP from Japan, has been one of the biggest converts to Baseball5, especially as an instructor. "I took Baseball5 to an elementary school in Japan and I had enthusiastic feed back. Baseball5 offers a great way to teach inclusion. I also believe, as a player, that Baseball5 offers a very good training opportunity."

Cameron Vale, the CEO of Baseball Australia, announced that Baseball5 is part of the range of sports that school teachers may select to get funding from Sporting Schools, a Federal Programme in Australia. "Baseball5, with the training opportunity it offers in hand-eye coordination, can prepare to many different sports, not only baseball and softball."

Various National Federations, including Pakistan, India and Uganda, offered enthusiastic comments about the introduction of Baseball5 in the respective countries.

WBSC will make a presentation during Thursday's Congress about the first ever edition of the Baseball5 World Cup, which was confirmed by the WBSC Executive Board to be held in Mexico next year.

Meanwhile, the WBSC Coach Commission introduced member federations to the Coach Licensing System. WBSC licensed 21 Continental Instructors (11 for baseball and 10 for softball) in October in Viera, Florida, who will train and certify coaches.

The coaches that need to operate at the grass-root level will be trained and certified, but won't go through final tests. These courses will last three days and will be for baseball and softball combined but won't include any instruction on pitching and catching.

The level 1 of certification will be for coaches that need to work at the U-12 and U-15 levels. These courses will have an entry and exit exam and will last four days. Levels 3 and 4 of certification will be for coaches that need to operate at the upper level.

The tests will be run through a digital platform and the WBSC Development Commission will be in charge of approving the requests to host courses by National Federations. "We don't pretend to invent anything," said Coach Commission chairman Marco Mazzieri. "We are trying to put a structure together."

Coach Commission member Andrea D'Auria added: "We need your feedback. We need to have information about your programme, to customize our courses on your actual needs."

The WBSC Scoring Application, Management System and WBSC website were the theme of two more Workshops.

WBSC scorers are using a costumized version of the MyBallclub App. National Federations that want to test it, may download it from the Android and iOS online stores.

The WBSC Management System allows the setup of tournaments, including rosters and games. The whole environment has been developed since 2017 and is now integrated with WBSC website.

The scoring app has been used since the Men's Softball Junior World Championship 2018 and has been tuned to the specific needs of the WBSC Scoring Commission. The goal for the 2020 season is to make more data available.



Players, managers praise Premier12 and its international success

Players, managers praise Premier12 and its international success
20/11/2019
"The Premier12 helps the internationalization and the globalization of baseball, this is a fact. The game needs to be global," stated WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.

Managers and players heaped praise on the Premier12 following the successful conclusion of the second edition in Tokyo on Sunday. The status of the tournament and the growth of international baseball were key factors on why the key actors in international baseball's flagship event were unanimous in their support for Premier12 and the future of international baseball.

David Nilsson, manager of the Australian Baseball National Team, was categoric: “Premier12 has been a fantastic tournament from every point of view. Having the best 12 baseball programs in the world competing in different places is a wonderful concept, and exposes the world to a lot of great players from different countries.”

Mexican skipper Juan Gabriel Castro agreed. “It’s been a great experience. It was my first international event, and I liked the tournament. A great organization in Guadalajara and here in Tokyo, two incredible hosts. It motivates everyone to keep participating in these kind of events.”

Atsushi Saito, who was named NPB Commissioner two years ago, also praised the tournament. "We enjoyed very exciting games during the Premier12. All the participants did an excellent job and the fans enjoyed it very much. Global baseball is a lot of fun. The level of the teams was very high. Japan enjoyed the tournament the most, of course. I want to congratulate every team. They were able to create a lot of excitement."

The participating players were in agreement on one thing: the pride and honour of wearing their national team's uniform.

USA reliever Noah Song also had his first taste of international baseball at the WBSC Premier12. "It's awesome. Baseball makes everybody come together. We don't speak the same language, but we do play at the same rules. The game really is universal".

Lin Che-Hsuan also noted how important is to wear Chinese Taipei uniform. "I want to thank my family and the fans supporting us. To wear Chinese Taipei uniform is really an honour for me. Hopefully I have another chance to use this uniform in the future".

Australian outfielder Aaron Whitefield feels the same way. “It’s always a pleasure when you represent your country. I’m proud of it, it’s such an honour. Any time I can still represent Australia is a huge honour for me.”

Mexican Arturo Reyes agreed. “The sense of pride, especially for my family watching back home. Putting on this jersey, you’re representing a country. When you have the name of your country across your chest is more than a name on you back or any other name.”

Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee also said “It’s an honour to be part of the national team, as my father did. It’s such a great honour.”

And WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari has the last word saying: "The Premier12 helps the internationalization and the globalization of baseball, this is a fact. We have some major international baseball players participating in the Premier12 and it's their star power which will continue to help the game go global."



Venues confirmed for last two Olympic Baseball qualifiers

Venues confirmed for last two Olympic Baseball qualifiers
20/11/2019
The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will be held in Arizona, USA, while the Final Qualifier is slated to be played in Taichung, Taiwan.

With four National Teams already qualified for baseball’s historic return to the Olympic program, the WBSC will hold the last two Olympic Qualifiers to define the last guests to Tokyo 2020. The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will take place in Arizona, USA, while the Final Qualifier is slated to be played in Taichung, Taiwan.

The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will take place in Arizona, USA, from 22-26 March. Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, USA and Venezuela will be drawn into two groups to battle for one spot in next year’s Olympic Games. Second and third place in this event will have another chance to make the Olympics, in the Final Qualifier.

The Final Qualifier will be played in Taichung, Taiwan, from 1-5 April, with the participation of Chinese Taipei, China (Asian Championship second and third place respectively), the Netherlands (runner-up in the Europe/Africa Qualifier), the top nation of the Oceania Pre Qualifier, and the aforementioned two teams coming from the Americas Qualifier (second and third place).

The winners of both events will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition.



President Fraccari - Premier12 the springboard for further growth

President Fraccari - Premier12 the springboard for further growth
19/11/2019
In his opening speech to the WBSC Executive Board, President Riccardo Fraccari looked back at the Premier12 and reinforced how it can further help the continued development with Baseball and Softball around the world.

Sakai, Japan - “The Premier12 was an outstanding success,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari told members of the Executive Board during his opening address at its pre-Congress meeting on Tuesday at the Hotel Agora Regency Sakai. “It is a key tournament for WBSC and it is driving the growth and globalisation of our sport, which is so very important,” he added. “The last two games of the event were watched by over 90,000 fans. Our communication and engagement figures have doubled since the last edition in 2015. So the Premier12 is providing us with a great opportunity to market our sport into territories where we have never been.

“The Premier12 is potentially the biggest Olympic qualifier in any sport and it is a perfect prelude to the Olympic Games next year where Baseball and Softball will be one of the success stories.

“People are talking positively about our events and numbers are showing we are going in the right direction. However we must continue working hard to further develop the sport and ensure that it is reaching more and more people in countries all around the world.

“WBSC is introducing new tools and processes for federations to help in this process. We are constantly evolving and innovating to maintain our relevance in a congested sporting calendar. A key property helping us with this process is Baseball5. It’s taking off all around the world and is proving to be a great opportunity for people to get involved, not only in our sport but in physical exercise in general, which is increasingly important in the current society of video games and e-sport.

“You all have been doing a great job but we must continue and work together to continue this very exciting journey for international Baseball and Softball and the WBSC.”

The Executive Board was joined by members of the Baseball and Softball Division Boards, providing an excellent platform for discussion and ideas.

The WBSC Congress week continues on Wednesday with Open Workshops featuring the Coaching Commission, Baseball5 and the website and scoring application.
Continental Associations will meet in the afternoon before the official Drawing of Lots for the last two Olympic Qualification Tournaments will be held, and live streamed, in the evening.

The WBSC Congress takes place on Thursday.



Key events and wild cards confirmed by WBSC Executive Board

Key events and wild cards confirmed by WBSC Executive Board
19/11/2019
Six wild cards over five tournaments were confirmed while Mexico was awarded with three events and Taiwan with two as the Executive Board met at the Hotel Agora Regency Sakai on Tuesday.

Sakai, Japan – Mexico will be one of the hottest destinations for Baseball and Softball in 2020 after the WBSC Executive Board approved three of its key events to be staged in the country next year. Just days after its men’s baseball team qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time after finishing as the top team from the Americas at the WBSC Premier12 2019, Mexico was confirmed as the host of the U23 Baseball World Cup while Tijuana was approved as the host of the U15 Baseball World Cup.

The third part of the trifecta is one of WBSC’s fastest-growing properties - Baseball5 – with the World Cup set to be held close to the end of the year.

Other appointments saw the WBSC Executive Board approve Taiwan as host of the 2021 Congress as well as the WBSC U23 Baseball World Cup in 2022.

While the Board also voted on the allocation of wild cards for Baseball and Softball events in 2020 as per the following:

Event Number of Wild Cards Applied Countries Elected Country
U15 Baseball World Cup 1 Mexico  
Women’s Baseball World Cup 2 Cuba, Netherlands  
U23 Baseball World Cup 1 Korea (21 votes) Australia (6 votes) Korea
U18 Women’s Softball World Cup 1 Philippines  
U18 Men’s Softball World Cup 1 Israel (2 votes), USA (24 votes) USA


WBSC awards Peru the hosting rights of first-ever U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup

WBSC awards Peru the hosting rights of first-ever U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup
19/11/2019
World No. 13 Philippines received the wild card to participate in this event

In the eve of the III WBSC Congress, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced that the hosting rights of the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup 2020 have been awarded to Peru.This marks the first time a softball World Cup will be held in Latin America since 2012, when the U-19 Men’s Softball World Cup was held in Argentina.

The first-ever edition of the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup will be held in Lima, Peru, from 21-30 August, and features the world’s best players from 16 countries in the U-18 category.

The tournament will be held at Villa María del Triunfo Sports Complex in the Peruvian capital, venue of this year’s Pan American Games Lima 2019 softball competition.

“WBSC is very happy with the awarding of the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup to Peru,” said WBSC Softball Chairman, Tommy Velazquez. “After the amazing softball success at the Pan American Games Lima 2019, we’re very proud to continue building the legacy of this event, awarding Peru the hosting rights of one of the most important international softball events in the world.”

This will be the first ever U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup, the new age bracket created to replace the old U-19 Women’s Softball World Championship.

The WBSC Softball Division Executive Board awarded today the wild card to the Philippines, that ended fourth place in the U-17 Women’s Softball Asia Cup. A total of 12 teams have secured its participation in the new World Cup:  

  • Africa (2): To be determined
  • Americas (5): No. 1 USA (three-time U-19 world champion), No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 5 Mexico, No. 20 Peru
  • Asia (3): No. 2 Japan, No. 6 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 China
  • Europe (3): No. 9 Italy, No. 10 Netherlands, No. 15 Czech Republic
  • Oceania (2): To be determined
  • Wild Card (1): No. 13 Philippines

The U-18 Women’s Softball Regional Qualification Event will be held in Canberra, Australia, from 15-16 February 2020.

The last U-19 Women’s Softball World Championship was held in Irvine, California, in August 2019. USA defeated Japan 4-3 in eight innings and claimed its third consecutive world title in this category.



Change to number of teams for softball events

Change to number of teams for softball events
19/11/2019
Three softball World Cups see a reduction in the number of teams participating after the WBSC Softball Division Board confirms it's quality over quantity.

Sakai, Japan - The Softball Division Board opened a busy week of WBSC meetings at the Hotel Agora Regency Sakai on Tuesday with one of the key decisions from its meeting confirming the number of teams participating in WBSC events over the next few years.

The Board voted on each tournament, where a vote was required, with the results list below:

Women’s World Cup - 16 (no change) for 2021 & 2023

Men’s World Cup - 12 (no vote)

U23 Men’s World Cup - 12 (no change) for 2021 & 2023

U18 Women’s World Cup - reduced to from 16 to 12 for 2022

U18 Men’s World Cup - 12 (no change) 2020 & 2022

U15 Women’s World Cup – reduced from 12 to 8 for 2021 & 2023

U12 Mixed Gender World Cup - reduced from 12 to 8 for 2021 & 2023

The Board also voted on the distribution of vacancies for the eight-team World Cups with the following combination confirmed as approved: One spot for Africa, Europe and Oceania, two for Americas, two for Asia and one wild card.

The WBSC week of meetings continues with the Executive Board meeting in the afternoon, followed by Open Workshops and Continental Association Meetings on Wednesday before the WBSC Congress takes place on Thursday.



Over $5m in prize money distributed among Premier12 teams

Over $5m in prize money distributed among Premier12 teams
19/11/2019
A minimum of 50 percent of a team's prize money is to be distributed equally among the players on the 28-man roster

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 supassed many records during its second edition, which finished with Japan winning on Sunday. One of those was the amount of prize money distributed to the teams. A total amount of $5,210,000 was distributed among the 12 participating teams - with the champion, Japan, receiving a total of $1,610,000 - marking a 40% increase over the inaugural edition of this major international baseball event in 2015.

As per WBSC guidelines, a minimum of 50 percent of a team's prize money is to be distributed equally among the players on the 28-man roster.

The list of prizes is as follows:

StandingsOpening
Round wins
Group winnerSuper Round winsTotal
JPN1,500,00030,00020,00060,000$ 1,610,000
KOR750,00030,00020,00040,000$ 840,000
MEX 500,00030,00020,00040,000 $ 590,000
USA350,00020,000 40,000 $ 410,000
TPE300,00020,000 40,000 $ 360,000
AUS250,00010,000 20,000 $ 280,000
CAN180,00010,000   $ 190,000
DOM180,00010,000   $ 190,000
VEN180,00010,000   $ 190,000
CUB180,00010000   $ 190,000
NED180,000    $ 180,000
PUR180,000    $ 180,000
 TOTAL     $ 5,210,000

Along with the prize for the final position, the teams received a $10,000 bonus for each Opening Round win, $20,000 for winning the group and $20,000 for each win in the Super Round.

The 2019 WBSC Premier12 will also award the highest amount of world ranking points of any international baseball competition.



Premier12 2019: better pitching, closer games, more emotions

Premier12 2019: better pitching, closer games, more emotions
19/11/2019
The pitching level in 2019 was significantly better than in 2015, marking also an increment in the level of play.

On Sunday 17 November, Japan beat Korea, 4-3, in the Championship Game of the Premier12 2019, in front of almost 45,000 enthusiastic fans that packed the Tokyo Dome. This game put an end to an extremely successful Premier12, a tournament with great pitching and emotive games.

Comparing the numbers of the 2015 and 2019 Premier12, one thing is clear. The pitching level in 2019 was significantly better than in 2015, marking also an increment in the general level of play.

All the pitching stats were better in 2019, but one number, in particular, stands out: the ERA (earned run average) in the tournament decreased 0.91 from 2015 to 2019. In the previous edition, pitchers combined for a 4.37 ERA; while in 2019 the total ERA was 3.46.

Also, the number of strikeouts shows the pitching improvement in this year's edition. In 2015 the stats recorded 568 strikeouts, an average of 14.9 per game (38 games played in 2015). This year, the gross number of strikeouts was 553 (only 15 fewer strikeouts than the previous edition), for an average of 17.3 (32 games played in 2019). It's an increment of 2.5 strikeouts per game.

On the other hand, as a consequence, the number of hits decreased. In 2015 pitchers allowed 17.8 hits per game (677 hits for the tournament). This year, pitchers gave up an average of 14 hits per game (a total of 448). The overall batting average lowered from .267 to .221.

However, the number of home runs didn’t decrease as much. In the first edition of the Premier12, a total of 58 home runs were hit, an average of 1.53 homers per game. In the 2019 edition, fans witnessed 46 homers, 1.44 per game with 20 of those homers hit at Charros de Jalisco Stadium, for the Group A.

As a result of better pitching performance, fans around the world were able to see closer games with more emotion and intensity. Half of the contests played in 2019 were decided by three or fewer runs, including eight of the 12 games of the Super Round, the Bronze Medal Game and the Championship Final.