By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- Canada has moved up three spots from 10th to seventh in the latest World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball World Rankings that were unveiled earlier today.
The rankings weigh a country’s National Team performance — from U-12 to Professional — in WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a four-year period (2015-2018). In that span, Canada won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games and followed that up with a fifth place showing at the inaugural Premier 12 event in November 2015. Canada was one of 16 nations to participate in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and last September finished fourth at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup staged in Thunder Bay, Ont.
With baseball returning to the Olympic program for the 2020 Tokyo Games, the Baseball World Rankings take on even more significance with qualification events looming.
The Top 12 ranked nations at the end of 2018 will battle in the November 2019 WBSC Premier12, the second edition of the men’s professional national team global championship. A select number of top finishers from the II Premier12 will gain direct entry into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“This is a very exciting and critical time leading up to the WBSC Premier12 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Games,” said WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari in a press release. “These next years will be among the most important for baseball/softball to continue emerging as a major global sport.”
The United States took over Japan for the top spot on the Baseball World Rankings with Korea, Cuba, Mexico and Chinese Taipei rounding out the top six.
The No. 7 ranking matches Canada’s position from 2014, 2013 and 2009. In 2011 and 2012, Canada reached its highest-ever ranking at No. 6.