NATIONS, GROUPS ANNOUNCED FOR WBSC U-18 BASEBALL WORLD CUP 2017 THUNDER BAY, CANADA
A record nine Top 10 countries have qualified into baseball's U-18 world championship.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation today announced the qualified nations and groups for the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 that will be staged from 1-10 September in Thunder Bay, CanadaTwelve nations have advanced via continental championships to earn the right to compete For the Title of World Champion in the U-18 category (born 1999-2001):rnAustralia, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa and United States won their respective U-18 continental championships; Chinese Taipei and Korea finished 2nd and 3rd in Asia; Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Americas; Italy was the runner-up in Europe. Host nation Canada was given an automatic berthOf the 12 National Teams advancing to Thunder Bay, nine -- No. 1 Japan, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Korea, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 5 Cuba, No. 6 Mexico, No. 8 Canada, No. 9 Netherlands and No. 10 Australia -- are currently ranked in the Top 10 of the WBSC Baseball World Rankings, setting the stage for the most elite U-18 baseball competition on recordThe U-18 Baseball World Cup, along with its continental qualifiers, has featured players who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Canada's Brett Lawrie; Japan's Yu Darvish and Shohei Otani; South Korea's Shin-soo Choo; Cuba's Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman; and USA's Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Buster PoseyrnU-18 Baseball World Cup 2015 star Mickey Moniak (USA) was the first player selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft, and other 2015 stars were drafted in the first round of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) and Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League. Florida Marlins' 2015 first-round pick, Josh Naylor, helped lead the Canadian National Team at the U-18 Baseball World Cup 2015 and was named to the WBSC All-World TeamrnGroups RevealedrnrnThe 12 qualified nations have been drawn into two groups of six and will begin the tournament with a round-robin. The top three finishers from each group will advance to the Super Round group stageIn Group A, host Canada, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Australia, No. 11 Italy and No. 16 Nicaragua will compete against each otherGroup B holds three-time defending world champions United States, top-ranked Japan, 11-time U-18 world champions Cuba, Mexico, Netherlands and South AfricaThe winner of the XXVIII WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will receive 575 world ranking pointsThe main venue of the U-18 world championship in Thunder Bay will be the 3,000-seat Port Arthur StadiumAt the last U-18 Baseball World Cup in 2015, the finale attracted over 15,000 fans to historic Koshien Stadium and its prime-time broadcast was the day's No. 1 rated TV programme in host nation Japan, while viewers from 93 countries and territories watched the live-stream at youtube.com/wbscThe game-schedule and broadcast/live-streaming details will be announced in future releasesEarly ticket packages for the U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 can be purchased at www.thunderbay2017.com