Under 12 World Cup a chance to strengthen Aussie ranking
24 May 2017
The World Baseball Softball Confederation this week announced its schedule for the 2017 Under 12 World Cup, which will be held in Tainan, Taipei, from 28 July to 6 August.
Qualifying for its second appearance at the tournament – after winning the inaugural Oceania Championship earlier this year - Australia will play United States, South Korea, Germany, Panama and Nicaragua in the Opening Round, with three wins likely to be the minimum to earn a berth in the Super Round.
With the tournament carrying world ranking points, Australia is poised to consolidate upon its current eighth ranking, although it will be another challenging assignment against some powerhouse baseball nations.
Although winning just two of its eight games at the 2015 tournament, Australia pushed South Korea to the limit and was ultra-competitive in other games against Mexico, Japan and Brazil.
“It was our first time in the tournament, and it was a big eye opener,” Baseball Australia High Performance Manager Glenn Williams told Australian Baseball Alumni this week.
“It was a tough tournament for us, although there were plenty of learning experiences coming out of it that will make us better this time around.”
“This is a really tough age group,” he said. “A lot of the other nations have players who are a tad more developed physically than our players – and they have likely had more game time.”
“This will always be a difficult one to anticipate, but the Oceania Qualifier was a real test for the team that went there and came through for us,” he said.
“The staff did a great job, and being Brian Murphy’s second time as Head Coach at this World Cup I have no doubt they will know what to expect from the competition.”
Of its five first-round games, Australia will face reigning gold-medallist United States and bronze medallist Nicaragua, with the top three teams from each group of six qualifying for the Super Round.
“Getting to the Super Round would be an amazing achievement for us,” Glenn Williams said.
With the Australian Little League Championship scheduled for mid-June, selectors have already been looking at prospective players for the World Cup squad, which is expected to be announced sometime shortly after the Little League tournament.
“Baseball Australia will be issuing communication on the processes being followed in our planning for the World Cup,” Glenn Williams said. “With ranking points on the line it is a very important event for us, so we will be aiming to get all of our very best guys there.”
The winner of the Under 12 World Cup will receive 345 points towards its WBSC ranking and there will be a sliding points allocation for other nations depending on the final placings. Currently listed eighth in the world – our highest ever ranking – Australia is 360 points ahead of ninth-placed Netherlands and 370 points behind Venezuela (seventh).
With neither of those nations entered for the Under 12 tournament, Australia has the opportunity to consolidate its position and to potentially make further headway through our participation at the Under 18 World Cup later this year.
Australian Baseball Alumni will post the Under 12 World Cup squad and further details as information is released by Baseball Australia.