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Team Israel Taking Shape for 2017 World Baseball Classic

The roster for Team Israel in the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Classic has been announced, in part. Fifteen players have confirmed with the rest to be finalized at a later date. Israel will travel to Seoul, South Korea to take on Korea, the Netherlands, and Chinese Taipei.

The players that have been confirmed are:

Ty Kelly, IF, New York Mets
Sam Fuld, OF, Oakland Athletics – free agent
Jason Marquis, P, formerly of the Cincinnati Reds – free agent
Ike Davis, 1B, formerly of the NY Mets and Yankees – free agent
Ryan Lavarnway, C, Oakland Athletics
Cody Decker, IF, Milwaukee Brewers
Josh Zeid, P, formerly of the Houston Astros – free agent
Nate Freiman, 1B, Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) – free agent
Tyler Krieger, IF, Lynchberg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians)
Nick Rickles, C, Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals)
Dean Kremer, P, Great Lakes Loons (LA Dodgers)
Corey Baker, P, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals)
Jeremy Bleich, P, Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies)
Jake Kalish, P, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals)
Alex Katz, P, Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox)

The team is pursuing other big leaguers according to Scott Barancik at Jewish Baseball News. Those players include Danny Valencia, Craig Breslow, Joc Pederson, and Jason Kipnis. Several others have already declined an invitation.

Per WBC rules, any athlete can play for Team Israel as long as they are eligible for an Israeli citizenship. This is accomplished by either marrying someone Jewish or having at least one Jewish grandparent.

This is Israel’s first time to play in the main tournament. They open up the WBC against South Korea on March 6 in Seoul.

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2017 World Baseball Classic Pool C & D Preview

Yesterday we took a look at Pools A & B for the 2017 World Baseball Classic and how each team has fared in the past. Today we will take a look at Pools C & D and look at how each team got here and how they have fared in the first three installments of the WBC.

Pool C

Canada is back for its fourth time in the WBC, yet they have surprisingly never made it out of Round 1. They came really close in the first tournament after finishing pool play 2-1 with a victory over the United States losing out on a tiebreaker to the US.

The Dominican Republic is back to defend its title from 2013. After starting off with a spot in the semifinal in the initial WBC, 2009 was a disappointing tournament as they did not make it out of Round 1. However, it was quite the bounce back as the Dominican ran through the 2013 tourney undefeated to take the title.

Colombia is making its first appearance in the WBC after defeating Panama in a qualifier last year to advance. Colombia failed to qualify in 2013 losing to Panama and Brazil in the qualifier. They got a little revenge this go around keeping Panama from advancing. They are one of two teams making their first appearance.

The United States is making its fourth appearance in the WBC. A fourth place finish in 2009 is the best the USA has done so far. The no. 2 World Ranked team has failed to make it out of Round 2 two of the three times, but they look to change that this year. There has been a lot of debate on players playing or not playing, and I look forward to more of that discussion later this year when the final team is announced.

Pool D

Mexico is back again for fourth time, but this time they had to come through a qualifier to pick up their spot. Twice Mexico has made Round 2, but not since 2009. They absolutely rolled through the qualifier outscoring their opponents 25-2. Look for them to once again advance to Round 2 where anything can happen.

Italy is back after a great run in 2013. This is their fourth appearance, but they are still looking for their first medal. Italy defeated both Mexico and Canada to advance in 2013. Their path this time goes through three Latin American teams, but I like their chances.

Venezuela is back for the fourth straight time. In 2009, they finished third defeating the USA in the semifinal. However, after that great run in ’09 they did not advance out of Round 1 in 2013 losing to both the Dominican and Puerto Rico. This might be the most wide open pool.

Puerto Rico is back again after a strong 2013 WBC finishing second to the Dominican. Each time they have made it to at least Round 2, and they stand poised to make another run at that as well. This will be another interesting roster to see once it is finalized.

There are at least three teams in each pool that stand a strong chance to advance to Round 2 which makes this tournament very exciting. I am looking forward to some upsets and surprise teams, but we will get into more of that once the rosters are announced.

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Alex Bregman to Play for Team USA in 2017 World Baseball Classic

One exciting development for Team USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic is the announcement by young budding superstar Alex Bregman that he will play.

Bregman made his Major League debut this summer with the Houston Astros. The budding star out of LSU got off to an ice cold start for the Astros before heating up and putting in a fine rookie campaign. In 49 games Bregman hit .264 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI. Not bad after starting off 1-for-32 to begin his career.

Bregman has the tools to be a stellar corner infielder, if that is in fact where he stays during his tenure in Houston. The Astros made Alex the no. 2 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft just behind fellow budding infield star Dansby Swanson.

Bregman has some international experience having played with the National Team at the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week where he helped the USA take the gold medal. He was named MVP of the tournament.

In a Tweet two days ago, Bregman told the world how he is excited to represent his country once again.

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Team Canada Adds Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster to 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster

Team Canada has added two retired pitchers to its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Announced late last week, Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster will pitch for Team Canada making their first appearance in the Classic.

Eric Gagne, 41, won the Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 recording 55 saves. He ranks second in team history in saves with 161, behind Kenley Jansen. Gagne last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He also pitched for the Rangers and Red Sox.

Dempster, 39, last played in the Major Leagues with the Red sox in 2013. Over 16 years in the big leagues Dempster compiled a 132-133 record with five teams. His best year came in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs when he went 17-6 earning his second all-star appearance.

The two former big league hurlers will join John Axford, Scott Diamond, and Adam Loewen to try and help Team Canada advance through the 2017 WBC.

Team Canada will compete in Pool C against the Dominican Republic, United States, and Colombia. They kick off the Classic against defending champ Dominican Republic on Thursday March 10 at 6 p.m. ET, at Marlins Park in Miami.

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2017 World Baseball Classic: A Look at Pool A & B

We are just seven weeks away from the first pitch in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. As teams finalize rosters, players will soon begin reporting to spring training where they will begin preparing for the  fourth installment of the tournament.

In 2013 the Dominican Republic finally dethroned the two-time champion Japanese. The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico in the championship game 3-0.

Each of the four pools have at the very least three strong teams that will compete for the two spots in the second round. So let’s go pool by pool and see how the teams have fared in the past. Today we will look at Pool’s A and B, and tomorrow we will take a look at Pool’s C and D.

Pool A:

Israel – This is Israel’s first time participating in the World Baseball Classic. They qualified through the Brooklyn Qualifier late in 2016. The team went 3-0 in the qualifier defeating Great Britain twice, including 9-1 in the championship game, and Brazil once by a 1-0 score. Israel just missed the 2013 WBC by losing to Spain 9-7 in the championship of a qualifier. They look to surprise someone, and they will need to, to move on.

South Korea – Back for a fourth time, South Korea recently moved up to no. 3 on the WBSC World Rankings which is their highest ranking ever. They look to continue moving up the ranks with some huge wins at the WBC. Korea finished runner-up in 2009 to Japan for its highest finish so far.

Chinese Taipei – This is their fourth time in the tournament as well. Their highest finish so far has been to advance to Round 2 in 2013. They will be searching for their first medal in the tournament and will be poised to move onto Round 2 if they can get passed the Netherlands.

Netherlands – They might have been the surprise of the tournament last go around finishing fourth. This is their fourth venture into the tournament and they look to improve on their high finish last time. They will have a strong showing but will have to defeat either South Korea or Chinese Taipei to move on.

Pool B

Japan – With two titles under their belt they are the most accomplished team in the tournament by far. Ranked no. 1 in the WBSC World Rankings, Japan will look to return to the top spot they lost last time out. A third place finish in 2013 would have been seen as a good thing for any team, except maybe the two-time defending champions. Look for a strong showing from them once again.

Cuba – Once the power in international tournaments, Cuba still has the power to make a run deep in this tournament. Their highest finish was a runner-up in 2006 in the inaugural event. Since then they have not advanced out of Round 2. I look for them to once again advance to Round 2, but go no further even though they are capable.

Australia – This is the wild card team in Pool B to me. If they can get passed a good Cuba team, they can advance to Round 2, which they have never done in the past. They had to get to this point by winning a qualifier, which they did quite easily. However, they just get passed Cuba or stun Japan to advance.

China – This is China’s fourth appearance in the tourney. They have never gotten out of Round 1 in the past but have made strides and have won at least one game in the past two tournaments. They might shock someone and hurt a team’s chances to advance by picking up a win like they did to Chinese Taipei in 2009.

Check back tomorrow for a quick look at the other two pools and soon we will start going over rosters as some of them are announced to see just how far they might be able to go.

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Haarlem Baseball Week Updates

The Haarlem Honkbal Week (Haarlem Baseball Week) kicked off last Friday in the Netherlands. Five teams are competing for the title in the 28th edition of the event. The teams competing this year are Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Curacao. There will not be back-to-back titles won since the USA did not return for the event this year having won in 2014.

So far the Netherlands are leading the way with a 4-0 record. Right behind the Dutch is Australia with its only blemish coming form the Dutch yesterday. The two teams will square off once again today as well.

Today’s Games:

Japan vs Chinese Taipei
Netherlands vs Australia

2016 Haarlem Honkbal Week Stadings:

  1. Netherlands 4-0
  2. Australia 3-1
  3. Japan 2-2
  4. Chinese Taipei 1-3
  5. Curacao 0-4

All games can be streamed online at http://www.meridix.com/everywhere.php?liveid=honkbalweek

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ESPN to Show Record Number of Little League World Series Games

We all know the Little League World Series from what is shown on ESPN. But don’t forget that there are other levels of Little League Baseball that have their own World Series, and many of them are just as exciting as the big one shown on ESPN.

Below is the schedule for the tournaments. We will try to bring you updates on the tournaments. ESPN will be televising the championship games of all of them I believe starting August 2nd. They will also be televising 91 of the regional games from the LLWS making it a record number of games that they will be showing this summer.

  • Big League Baseball (15/16/17/18-year-olds)
    • July 26 to Aug. 2 – Easley, S.C. (Easley Recreation Complex)
    • 16th season in Easley; 49th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Puerto Rico District 13 (Arroyo)
  • Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball (11/12/13-year-olds)
    • July 31 to Aug. 7 – Livermore, Calif. (Max Baer Park)
    • 4th season in Livermore; 4th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: West Seoul Little League (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Senior League Baseball (14/15/16-year-olds)
    • July 31 to Aug. 6 – Bangor, Maine (Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium)
    • 15th season in Bangor; 56th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: West University Little League (Houston, Texas)
  • Junior League Baseball (13/14-year-olds)
    • Aug. 14 to Aug. 21 – Taylor, Mich. (Heritage Park)
    • 36th season in Taylor; 36th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Chung-Shan Little League (Taichung, Chinese Taipei)
  • Little League Baseball® (11/12-year-olds)
    • Aug. 18 to Aug. 28 – South Williamsport, Pa. (Lamade/Volunteer Stadiums)
    • 58th season in South Williamsport; 70th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Tokyo Kitasuna Little League (Tokyo, Japan)

You can see the full schedule of what ESPN will show and on what channel from the link below. Everything kicks off with television coverage on August 1st.

ESPN to Showcase 137 Little League Baseball and Softball World Series Games, the Most Games ESPN Has Ever Covered for the Tournament

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Philippines Wins the 12th East Asia Baseball Cup

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The No. 23 world ranked Philippines won the 12th East Asia Baseball Cup defeating host nation and No. 38 ranked Indonesia in the championship game. Six teams competed for the title with the winner gaining a spot in the Asia Championships later this year.

Competing in the 12th East Asia Baseball Cup were the Philippines, Indonesia, unranked Singapore, No. 30 Thailand, No. 31 Sri Lanka, and No. 33 Hong Kong.

With the win Philippines will take on the likes of some of the best in the world in Taiwan this September in the Asia Championships. They will take on five-time defending champion and No. 1 ranked Japan, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 South Korea, No. 21 China, and No. 24 Pakistan. The event will take place September 16-20 in Taichung, Taiwan.

East Asia Cup Final Standings:

1. No. 23 Philippines
2. No. 38 Indonesia
3. No. 31 Sri Lanka
4. No. 33 Hong Kong
5. No. 30 Thailand
6. Nr Singapore

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WBSC Announces Groups for 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup

The World Baseball Softball Confederation recently announced the groups for the upcoming 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup. The tournament will take place in Osaka, Japan from August 28 to September 06.

Twelve teams will compete for the title. Each group will play a round robin with the top three from each group moving on to the second round. During that second round a super round robin will be played with the two teams with the best overall records competing for the championship.

The championship will be played in historic Koshien Stadium which was built in 1924. The USA heads into the tournament as the two-time defending champs.

Group A (with current world ranking):

No. 1 Japan
No. 2 USA
No. 12 Mexico
No. 14 Australia
No. 15 Brazil
No. 20 Czech Republic

Group B:
No. 3 Cuba
No. 4 Chinese Taipei
No. 7 Canada
No. 8 South Korea
No. 11 Italy
No. 29 South Africa

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High School: San Clemente Wins NHSI

CARY, North Carolina – The National High School Invitational was this past week at the National Training Complex. The tournament, in its fourth year, featured some of the best high school teams from all over the country.

This year the tournament featured schools from Texas, Florida, California, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington, and North Carolina. The first three years of the tournament the title went to a California school twice (2013 and 2012 – Mater Dei) and a Florida school (2014 – Orlando’s First Academy).

After a one year hiatus, the championship is back in California.

San Clemente defeated College Park 8-3 in the championship game on Saturday bring the title back to the state where Mater Dei held it for two straight years.

The tournament featured some of the top ranked high school teams in the country by MaxPreps including No. 6 ranked San Clemente. Also ranked were No. 5 College Station (TX), No. 4 Mosley (FL), and No. 25 Puyallup (WA). These rankings were from 3/23 and are likely to change after the tournament.

For video recaps and other news and notes from the tournament, visit USABaseball.com.

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Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup

The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

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USA wins Women’s Baseball Pan Am Qualifier

Press Release WBSC

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic — World No. 2 USA won the first-ever Women’s Baseball Pan American Games Qualifier in the Dominican Republic, defeating Venezuela, 3-0, in the finale.

The 2015 Toronto Pan American Games will be the first-ever multi-sport “mega-event” to stage women’s baseball. In total, four baseball/softball disciplines will be featured at the 2015 Pan American Games: men’s baseball and men’s softball, and women’s baseball and women’s softball. Baseball and softball are two of the 36 sports on the Toronto 2015 program.

The 2015 Pan American Women’s Baseball Championship/Pan Am Games qualifier ran from 8-12 March and featured the Women’s National Teams of USA, No. 5 Venezuela, No. 8 Cuba, No. 10 Puerto Rico and unranked host Dominican Republic.

In additional to USA, Venezuela, Cuba, and Puerto Rico all made the cut to be at the historic debut of Women’s Baseball at the Pan Am Games, while hosts Dominican Republic were eliminated.

No. 4 Canada automatically secures a place in the 2015 Pan Am Games, which will be staged in July at the new baseball/softball complex just outside Toronto.

USA was the only country from the Americas region to medal at last year’s WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup VI, taking the silver medal in Miyazaki, Japan.

The 2015 Pan American Women’s Baseball Championship is being organised by the Dominican Baseball Federation (FEDOBE), in conjunction with the Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE) — the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s baseball arm for the Americas.

Copyright © 2015 WBSC. All rights reserved.

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Colombia Wins Gold, Peru Bronze at South American Championships

CUIABÁ, Brazil – No. 46 Peru claimed the bronze medal at the 13th South American Championships by defeating No. 29 Argentina 6-2.

This was a big win for the program and helped avenge an earlier round loss. In the opening round, Argentina defeated Peru 23-2. Argentina was the three-time defending champs of the event.

In the gold medal game, No. 19 Colombia defeated No. 15 Brazil to claim the championship. With the win Colombia earned the last spot in the 2015 Pan-American Games to be held in Toronto later this year.

With a 6-4 win, Colombia finished the tournament with an undefeated 6-0 record.

Photo courtesy IBAF.org

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Brazil Faces Colombia in 13th South American Baseball Championship Final

CUIABÁ, Brazil – Host No. 15 Brazil made it to the final of the 13th South American Baseball Championship and will face off with No. 19 Colombia.

Colombia knocked out Peru in the first semifinal by a score of 16-0. Brazil then took care of Argentina 4-2 to face off with Colombia in the championship.

In the opening round Colombia defeated Brazil. The winner of this final game will secure the final spot to the 2015 Pan-Am Games in Toronto later this year.

Peru and Argentina will face off in the bronze medal game. Argentina won their first meeting 23-2.

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Colombia Defeats Host Brazil at 13th South American Baseball Championships

CUIABÁ, Brazil – Colombia took the lead in the standings of the 13th South American Baseball Championships with an 8-3 victory over host Brazil on Tuesday. It was Brazil’s first loss of the tournament, while Colombia remained undefeated.

In other action on Tuesday Argentina blew out Peru 23-2. Argentina remains in third place with a 2-2 record.

13th South American Baseball Championship Standings:

1. Colombia 3-0
2. Brazil 2-1
3. Argentina 2-2
4. Peru 1-2
5. Bolivia 0-3

South American Championships

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The 13th South American Baseball Championships Open in Brazil

CUIABÁ, Brazil – The 13th South American Baseball Championships kicked off this week in Brazil. Competing are five South American teams with the winner gaining the final open spot for the 2015 Pan-Am Games coming up later this year in Toronto.

Competing for the final spot is No. 15 Brazil, No. 19 Colombia, No. 29 Argentina, No. 46 Peru, and No. 69 Bolivia. A total of fourteen games will crown the champion with the final coming up this weekend on Saturday March 7.

Day 1 of the tournament saw host Brazil down Peru 15-5 and Argentina shutting out Bolivia 21-0. Day 2 saw the two winners on Day 1 facing off in what turned out to be a great game with Brazil downing Argentina 2-1. Colombia also got in the win column with a 15-0 six inning win over Bolivia.

South American Championships

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Pakistan Wins 12th West Asia Baseball Cup

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan recently wrapped up the 12th West Asia Baseball Cup with a perfect record and a title. It was Pakistan’s third straight title winning both the 10th and 11th edition of the biannual tournament.

Iran finished with the silver medal losing only to tournament champion Pakistan. Unranked India wound up with the bronze medal after defeating Iraq 20-0.

12th West Asia Baseball Cup Schedule:

Monday February 23rd
Pakistan 20, Iraq 0

Tuesday February 24th
Iran 15, India 0

Wednesday February 25th
India vs. Iraq – postponed due to rain

Thursday February 26th
India 20, Iraq 0
Pakistan 12, Iran 0

Friday February 27th
Iran 18, Iraq 4
Pakistan 11, India 0

12th West Asia Baseball Cup Standings:
1. Pakistan 3-0
1. Iran 2-1
3. India 1-2
3. Iraq 0-3

Photo Courtesy Baseball Federation of Asia

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Afghanistan Disqualified from 12th West Asia Baseball Cup

Originally it was announced that Afghanistan would compete in the 12th West Asia Baseball Cup held this week in Pakistan. However, the team is not participating.

We have received word from a member of the Pakistan Federation Baseball that the team did in fact show up to play but did not bring the required documentation for its players and thus was disqualified.

So the five team tournament has gone to four.

Keep checking back for more information on the tournament as it progresses this week.

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12th West Asia Baseball Cup Scores

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The 12th West Asia Baseball Cup is underway in Islamabad, Pakistan. The five team tournament is hosted by defending champion Pakistan with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and India also participating.

Day 1 opened up with a single match between host Pakistan taking on Iraq. It was not a close one as the defending champs took down Iraq 20-0.

Day 2 had new Iran National Team manager Toma Irokawa managing his first game against India. Iran, ranked No. 49 in the world rankings, demolished unranked India 15-0. A strong showing for Irokawa’s first game.

The lone game today has both winless teams facing off with one another in India versus Iraq. However, heavy rain has postponed the game.

12th West Asia Baseball Cup Schedule:

Monday February 23rd
Pakistan 20, Iraq 0

Tuesday February 24th
Iran 15, India 0

Wednesday February 25th
India vs. Iraq – postponed due to rain

Thursday February 26th
India vs. Iraq
Pakistan vs. Iran

Friday February 27th
Iran vs. Iraq
Pakistan vs. India

12th West Asia Baseball Cup Standings:
1. Pakistan 1-0
1. Iran 1-0
3. India 0-1
3. Iraq 0-1
Photo courtesy Pakistan Federation Baseball

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Asia: 12th West Asia Baseball Cup Starts Today

The 12th West Asia Baseball Cup is set to start today in Islamabad, Pakistan. Put on by the Baseball Federation of Asia, five teams will compete for the title.

Pakistan, No. 24 in the world rankings, is the defending champion having won the 2013 edition of the tournament.

Also competing will be Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and India. Afghanistan ranks No. 35 in the world rankings while Iran is No. 49. Both Iraq and India are both unranked.

2015 West Asia Baseball Cup Schedule:

2015 West Asia Baseball Cup

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World Port Tournament Unveils New Logo for 2015

The World Port Tournament recently unveiled its new logo via Twitter.

The 2015 edition of the biannual tournament will take place from July 18-26th in Rotterdam. The participating teams will be the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Curacao, and Japan who will replace the USA who pulled out recently.

The tournament also recently received sanction from the WBSC and it will release a newly updated site next week.

 

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College: Cal State Fullerton to Represent USA at 2015 World University Games in Korea

This summer in Gwangju, South Korea the 2015 World University Games will take place from July 3-14. Representing the USA at the games will be the Cal State Fullerton Titans.

The four-time national champion Titans are ranked No. 23 in the Baseball America preseason rankings. The team is coming off its 40th consecutive 30 win season.

Originally USA Baseball was going to send an All-Star team to the World University Games. However, eleven teams showed interest before Fullerton was chosen.

A pair of Titan players, pitchers Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza, competed with the USA Collegiate National team a year ago finishing with an 18-8-2 record competing both in Cuba and the Netherlands.

The games are held every two years in different cities around the world. Internationally it is known as Universiade. In 2013, they were held in Kazan, Russia where the US finished in 6th place with 40 medals. This year will be the US’s largest participation ever with 550 athletes competing in 21 sports.

Posted in Asia, N. America, Tournaments, News, College0 Comments

Cuba Wins First Caribbean Series Title Since 1960

Cuba used a great start from Yosvani Torres and a home run from Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-4) to pull of an upset once again and claim the 2015 Caribbean Series title defeating Mexico 3-2.

Torres pitched a solid six innings giving up just one run while striking out five. Hector Mendoza pitched the final four outs to pick up the save.

Frederich Cepeda (2-for-4) had a two-out RBI single, and Gourriel hit a solo home run in the eighth to lead Cuba to the championship.

Down 3-1 Mexico looked to claim its third straight title. In the bottom of the eighth Eric Farris (1-for-4) had a two-out RBI single to make it a one run game.

Cuba’s Cepeda was named the tournament MVP after going 6-for-8 in the final two games driving in six runs.

This is the eighth time Cuba has won the tournament. It won seven times from 1949-1960 and only returned back to the tournament last year.

Full Box Score

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Caribbean Series: Mexico and Cuba Advance to Final

The final of the 2015 Caribbean Series is set and the team that went 4-0 in the round robin didn’t make it, but the team that went 1-3 did.

Mexico was the first team to punch their ticket to the final with a 5-4 win over the Dominican Republic. It was a close game with the Dominican having the tying run at third base with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but they were unable to tie it up.

Mexico jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring three runs in the second and adding one more in the third. With a throwing error by Dominican third baseman Hector Gomez, Mexico would score three unearned runs in the second. An inning later Mexico would get one more after Joey Meneses (1-for-3) singled with two outs. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Russell Branyan (1-for-2) RBI single.

After adding a fifth unanswered run, the Dominican Republic finally fought back and fight back they did. In the sixth inning the Dominican finally got on the board with a pair of runs to make it 5-2. In a turn of fate, Hector Gomez reached on a throwing error with two outs allowing Yefri Perez (1-for-2) to score the first run. Gomez wound up at third after the error and would score one hitter later on a Elian Herrera (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican would add a single run in the eighth and ninth but come up short as Mexico avenged their 3-2 loss on Thursday to advance to the finals on Sunday. Terance Marin picked up the win tossing six innings allowing just two unearned runs. Jay Jackson picked up the save.

Full Box Score

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament, previously undefeated Venezuela fell to Cuba. Venezuela jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the third and three runs in the fourth. A couple of walks and a RBI single from Ehire Adrianza (1-for-5) to take a 1-0 lead. With three more in the fourth it looked like Venezuela would stay undefeated.

Then the sixth inning came. Cuba would get three runs to get itself back in the game. Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-5) singled followed by a single from Alfredo Despaigne (1-for-5). Two batters later Frederich Cepeda (4-for-5) tripled in both Gourriel and Despaigne and would score himself on a throwing error making it 4-3.

Cuba would explode for five more runs in the seventh inning. Cepeda was there once again with the big hit. He would clear the bases driving in three with a one out double.

Norge Ruiz picked up the win with 4.1 innings of relief. He allowed five hits and no runs. Amalio Diaz took the loss going just a third of an inning in relief.

The win puts Cuba in the final against Mexico at 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico 5, Dominican Republic 4
6:30 pm Cuba 8, Venezuela 4

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Mexico

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