Premier 12 groups, venues announced
14 February 2019
World Baseball Softball Confederation overnight announced pools and venues for the 2019 Premier 12 tournament, in which Australia will compete as currently seventh-ranked baseball nation. in its effort to earn qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Premier 12 will be held between 2 and 17 November.
As host nation, Japan gains automatic entry to the 2020 Olympics, with the Premier 12 deciding two more of the countries qualified for Tokyo – the top Asia/Oceania finisher in the final standings (apart from Japan) and the top finisher from the Americas.
The Premier 12 has been drawn into three groups of four. The top two teams in each group will progress to a Super Round, with the Championship Final to be played at Tokyo Dome.
Group One (playing in Guadalajara, Mexico) will comprise Mexico (ranked sixth), United States (second), Netherlands (eight) and Dominica (twelfth). Playing in Taichung, Group Two pits the host nation Chinese Taipei (fourth) against Japan (first), Venezuela (nine) and Puerto Rico (eleven).
Ranked seventh in the world, Australia will travel to Seoul, South Korea, to meet Group Three opponents in Korea (ranked three), Cuba (five) and Canada (ten).
Top finisher from the Americas will qualify out of the Premier 12, as will top finisher from Asia/Oceania – where Australia will need to finish ahead of Korea and Chinese Taipei.
Should Australia not finish as top team in the Asia/Oceania group, then we will still have another chance, albeit another difficult proposition that would require us to first win an Oceania Qualifier in which New Zealand could reasonably be expected to be a tough opponent.
Were we to win the Oceania Qualifier, then we would then compete in a six-team tournament that would include second-placed team from an Asia/Europe Qualifier, second and third-placed teams from an Americas Qualifier and the top two finishers from the Asian Championship (excluding teams already qualified for Tokyo).
With the Australian national team now in evaluation/assessment mode under new Manager David Nilsson, we wish the squad every success in its build-up over the next several intensive months as it prepares to take on the very best international baseball teams all focused on a berth in Tokyo.
THE ROAD TO TOKYO (Alumni story from December 2018)