With the Netherlands and Spain representing Europe in the 2019 U18 Baseball World Cup, FIBS Academy director and Team Italy U18 manager John Cortese will make sure his young and talented squad never miss another World Cup competition in the future. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced this week that it has awarded the hosting rights of the 30th edition of the U18 Baseball World Cup in 2021 to USA Baseball.
Slated to take place in September of 2021 at the Spring Training stadiums of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Florida and the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida, the international tournament returns to the USA after a long absence dating back to 1995. WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari said, “USA Baseball presented an excellent bid, vision and venue plan for one of youth sport’s most prestigious world championships, the U-18 Baseball World Cup, The world’s best young players and next generation of superstars will have an iconic stage -- the same stadiums where top professionals play and train -- to perform and showcase their talents to the passionate fans in the stands and those watching across the world. While the sport of baseball has never been as global as it is today, there has never been a more opportune time to bring the U18 Baseball World Cup back to the U.S., where baseball, together with softball, has furthered its position as the most practiced team sport, with participation numbers increasing over 20 percent to 25 million over the last five years, in the U.S. alone.”
The 2021 U18 Baseball World Cup will feature players aged 16 to 18 from 12 different countries. Team USA, four-time defending U18 world champions, will be granted an automatic berth into the tournament as the host nation. Team USA is seeking its fifth straight U18 Baseball World Cup title this year in Gijang, Republic of Korea. MLB greats Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Buster Posey, Yu Darvish, Shohei Ohtani, Shin-Soo Choo, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman have all competed in past editions of the U18 Baseball World Cup as youth players growing up and representing their respective countries.
After leading Team Italy in runs (5), hits (11), home runs (2), RBI (17), batting average (.423), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.531), on-base plus slugging (1.185), walks (6), and stolen bases (2), Azzurri captain and Cincinnati Reds prospect Leonardo “Grande Leo” Seminati was named and honored as a member of the 2017 WBSC U18 All-World Team during the closing ceremonies of the 12-country international tournament at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It would give great pleasure and satisfaction for Team Italy supporters to see his name added one day to the long list of MLB players who have participated in the tourney. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti