Men’s World Championship to have 20 teams

Mon 27 Mar 2017


With less than 100 days to the start of the 2017 Men's Softball World Championship, the World Baseball Softball Confederation has announced that 20 countries -- the second largest number in the event's history – will take part.

The 15th Men's World Championship will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada from 7-16 July.  The GB Men’s Fastpitch Team will be taking part in its fifth consecutive World Championship, and will be one of five teams from Europe in the competition.

The 20 teams will include representatives from all five Olympic regions, as shown below, with each team’s world ranking in brackets:

Africa (2):  Botswana (19), South Africa (14).

Americas (7):  Argentina (3), Canada (4), Dominican Republic (11), Guatemala (18), Mexico (9), United States (6), Venezuela (7).

Asia (4):  Hong Kong, India, Indonesia (20), Japan (2)

Europe (5):  Czech Republic (8), Denmark (13), Great Britain (10), Israel (21), Turkey.

Oceania (2):  Australia (5), New Zealand (1).

Debuts

India and Turkey will be making historic debuts in the Men's World Championship, which is currently run by the WBSC as an open tournament.

WBSC Softball Division President Dale McMann said: "The large field of teams competing in this year's Men's World Championship reflects the popularity and reach of softball across all regions and genders of the world.  With all of the Top 10 WBSC-ranked men's national teams participating, the games will be thrilling and action-packed.”

Canada, the host team, is looking to defend its world title after winning the competition in 2015 for the first time since 1992.

The Black Sox from New Zealand, who have won six Men's World Championships in total,  took home the silver in 2015 but will be looking to go one better this time around.

Venezuela claimed the bronze medal in 2015, while Great Britain finished 10th.

Umpires for the tournament will come from Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa, the USA and Venezuela.
Whitehorse

The Men’s World Championship will be taking place in Whitehorse for the first time, but the Yukon has hosted three previous world championships: the Junior Men's World Championship in 2008 and 2014, and the 2012 Women's World Championship.

"We hope the exciting and fast-paced games at the 2017 Championship will inspire residents to take up the sport of softball, as well as inspire young athletes already enjoying softball to keep striving for a higher level," said Executive Director of Softball Yukon George Arcand.

For information on tickets for the event, visit 2017mensworldsoftball.com.

GB Men’s Team

The GB Men’s team will travel to Canada with a team built around the one that competed in the European Championship in Italy last summer, finishing fifth.

Nine of the players selected played in the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) last season, and of these, five are former Academy Softball players, demonstrating the continued development of domestic players that can compete at the highest level in men’s softball.

These players will be enhanced with veterans who can provide additional pitching and offensive experience, since the aim at the Championship is to improve on GB’s current world ranking.

Team Manager Lee Grafton said, “Long-term, the ambition is to give more domestic-based players have the opportunity to travel with the GB team, and this squad is a good step towards that goal.”

Players selected so far for the GB Men’s Team for the 2017 World Championship are:

Amit Aswani
James Darby
Ieuan Gale
Rich Haldane
Kelvin Harrison
David Hutton
Kyle Linton
Ryan Martin
Darrin Newson
Josh Peat
Luke Peters
Kenny Pregnell
Tom Priscott
Kevin Stockford
Matt Tomlin

Head Coach Kevin Stockford hopes to take a full squad of 17 to the tournament, so there may be two more selections to come.

Challenge Cup

The GB Team will assemble in Vancouver on 29 June to take part in the Vancouver Challenge Cup before flying north to Whitehorse, where the World Championship will start on 7 July.

Opposition at the Vancouver Challenge Cup will be strong, as a number of the countries playing in the World Championship will use it as an opportunity to train and prepare for the main tournament.

For GB, the purpose of entering the Challenge Cup will be to give players a chance to acclimatise and blend as a team.  And for some of the younger GB players, it will be the first time they will have encountered world class pitching and fielding and the tournament will give them an excellent opportunity to learn and grow.

Reports from all games at the 2017 World Championship will be posted on the BSF website.

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