WBSC Global Newsletter
February 2021
WBSC Executive Board focuses on Tokyo Olympics in first meeting of the year
“The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will of course be the highlight of 2021, not only for athletes right around the world but also as a universal symbol of hope and solidarity for humanity,” World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari said as the WBSC Executive Board met for the first time in 2021 online on Thursday. “As you would have seen yesterday, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 presented the first Playbook for the Games, which starts to give us a clear vision of what we can expect in Tokyo. We are looking forward to having the honour of opening the Games with softball’s first pitch on 21 July.”

WBSC Integrity Unit launches #SafeCall safeguarding campaign
The WBSC’s Integrity Unit has launched #SafeCall, a new safeguarding campaign to serve and protect the rights and best interests of athletes. #SafeCall involves the WBSC Athletes Commission, who will appoint Safeguarding Officers to be present at WBSC events as part of the initiative. The Safeguarding Officer will be present throughout the entire tournament and will document all reports of discrimination, harassment and abuse, determine if follow up is needed and recommend if the case should be referred to the WBSC Ethics Commission or local authorities.

Video: Home Run News - Your monthly news update on global Baseball, Softball and Baseball5

Here's a list of all the top stories in 2020, a year in which the WBSC and its members still managed many achievements, both on and off the field, despite the impact of Covid-19 around the world.

WBSC expands women's commission into 'Diversity and Inclusivity Commission'

Formerly known as the Women's Development Commission, the WBSC Diversity and Inclusivity Commission promotes gender equity in baseball, softball and Baseball5. "WBSC shares and supports the goal of gender equality and inclusivity on and off the field," said WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt.

Keeping baseball and softball real: WBSC renews ITA partnership

With baseball and softball being featured at the Tokyo 2020 Games for the first time since 2008 – the ITA will ensure a harmonized and intelligence-led anti-doping program for the WBSC throughout the year and all future Summer Olympics. The ITA and the WBSC have been collaborating since January 2020.

WBSC reveals 2021-2029 calendar for Youth, Women’s Baseball World Cups and format change
The WBSC announced the 2021-2029 Baseball World Cup calendar, as well as a new competition format to the Women’s Baseball World Cup. WBSC announced the 2021-2029 Baseball World Cup calendar, as well as a new competition format to the Women’s Baseball World Cup.

WBSC launches new Softball World Cup format, 2021-2029 global schedule
The WBSC announced its Softball World Cup calendar for the nine-year competition period of 2021 to 2029. One of the main modifications includes turning all Softball World Cups into four-year cycle events. As part of the review process, the WBSC Executive Board also approved a new, innovative competition system for the Women’s Softball World Cup, the Men’s Softball World Cup and the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup, named as a “Two-Stage World Cup”.

WBSC announces Baseball5 World Cup Calendar 2021-2029
The WBSC announced the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup calendar for the period of 2021 to 2029. The WBSC Executive Board decided in December 2020 to formally launch world-level activity of the new 5-on-5 urban discipline in 2022. Thus, the 2021 season will be dedicated to the qualifying tournaments for the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup in 2022.

WBSC Women’s, U-15 Baseball World Cups postponed
The WBSC has asked the Tijuana Organizing Committee and the Mexican government to postpone the 2021 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup® and the U-15 Baseball World Cup to later this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated international travel restrictions.

1 Year Ago Today: WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup opens in New Zealand
The inaugural edition of the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup opened a year ago, on 22 February 2020, at the newly renovated Colquhoun Park in Palmerston North, New Zealand. This event turned out to be the only WBSC international event in 2020.

Softball Australia opens three-week Olympic training camp aiming to medal at Tokyo Games
The preliminary Australian Olympic Softball Team opened a three-week training camp on Friday 19 February at the Australian Institute of Sport. Australia's Olympic softball training camp will go through 7 March. With the cancellation of the Australia Pacific Cup and the postponement of the Summer Slam, originally scheduled to happen right after the training camp, the camp will help shape Softball Australia's final Olympic roster.

First Olympic Playbook published for safe participation at Tokyo 2020 Games
A series of Olympic Playbooks -- which were created with input from the IOC, World Health Organization, Tokyo 2020 -- layout useful guidelines and protocols on how to attend the Games safely and successfully.

USA vs Mexico three-game softball series set for 8-10 March in Clearwater, Florida
The three-game series between USA and Mexico has been rescheduled for 8-10 March at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Florida, USA. The announcement was made by USA Softball, as part of a one-year sponsorship agreement with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Sports & Events (VSPC).

Rakuten Eagles pitcher Norimoto would be 'honoured' to be selected for Japan's Olympic baseball team
The right-hander expressed a strong commitment to represent Japan's Olympic/National Team. "I would be honoured if selected, [but] first of all, I need to play well and help my team win," Norimoto told local press.

Cat Osterman plans on retirement following 2021 season
Cat Osterman will retire after the 2021 season. The 37-year-old player is set this summer to compete in her third Olympic Games and will also look to defend her title in the second season of Athlete Unlimited, before hanging up her spikes.

Hensley Meulens to manage Netherlands at final WBSC Olympic Baseball Qualifier
The coaching staff of the Dutch National Baseball Team has been confirmed for the upcoming WBSC Olympic Baseball Final Qualifier, as announced by the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB).

Enrico Obletter, Italian Women’s National Softball Team Head Coach, dies at 61

The softball world mourns the loss of Enrico Obletter, head coach of the Italian National Softball Team who earned the ticket to this summer's Tokyo Olympics, leading his squad to win the WBSC Softball Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier in 2019. Obletter, 61, passed away on 22 February in Italy due to complications resulting from COVID-19.

Australian Gabbie Plain tosses perfect game as she gets ready for Tokyo Olympics

Gabbie Plain, pitcher of the Australia Women’s National Softball Team extended roster who is battling for one of the 15 spots in the Olympic team, was named PAC-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week, after a dominating performance in the first weekend of the NCAA season. The University of Washington fireballer pitched a perfect game in the season opener.

Federation Focus: Chile targets Pan American Games 2023 to boost baseball, softball popularity
The Chile Baseball Softball Federation (FECHIBEIS, Federación de Béisbol y Softbol de Chile) is targeting the 2023 Pan American Games to boost the practice and popularity of baseball and softball in the South American country. Capital city Santiago will host the Pan Am Games and FECHIBEIS wants their national teams to be competitive in the baseball and softball events. FECHIBEIS is planning to launch semi-professional baseball and softball leagues in 2022.

Baseball5 webinar staged to grow the game in West African nation Burkina Faso
The African Baseball & Softball Association (ABSA), in collaboration with the WBSC, organised a Baseball5 webinar for coaches and game officials in Burkina Faso on 7 February. In all, 33 participants belonging to the Burkina Faso Baseball and Softball Federation (FBBS, Fédération Burkinabè de Baseball et Softball) attended the online course.

Softball Peru names national teams' coaching staff for 2021
Katia Coello will lead the Softball Peru U-18 Women’s National Team in the respective Softball World Cup, which will be held in the country’s capital city of Lima from 28 August to 5 September. Rafael Orozco will lead all Peru's men’s national teams and the U-15 women’s squad.

Tanzania launches Baseball5 roadmap to 2026 Youth Olympics
Tanzania launched it's new Baseball5 roadmap to the 2026 Youth Olympics at the Diamond Primary School in capital city Dar Es Salaam. The athletes, aged 9-12, were introduced to the motto Discipline, Respect and Justice.

Spain rebrands top baseball and softball leagues; National Team programme a priority
The Spanish Softball League will open on 28 March, while the Spanish Baseball League is set to open on 11 April. Spain's baseball-softball president Jesus Lisarri said: "We are working for change."

Softball India national championships set for March

Softball is set to return in India with the announcement of the dates of the nation's 42nd Senior National Softball Championships. The men’s and women’s tournaments will be played from 20-24 March in Bharaptur, Rajasthan.

Baseball for the Blind to be taught at Tanzania college

The Tanzania Baseball and Softball Association (TaBSA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dar Es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) to introduce special education athletes to Baseball for the Blind.

USA Softball announces Head Coaches for Men's National Team program

USA Softball has announced the selection of Ron Hackett, Tim Lyon and Tony Aresco as Head Coaches for the USA Softball Men’s National Team program. Hackett will serve as Head Coach for the senior Men’s National Team while Lyon and Aresco will lead the respective U-23 and U-18 Men’s National Teams.

New university baseball league to be launched in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Baseball Federation (FEDOBE, Federacion Dominicana de Beisbol) has announced the launch of a new University Baseball League (LBU, Liga Universitaria de Béisbol), in which 11 universities from across the country will compete. The announcement was made at the Dominican Olympic Committee.

Melbourne wins 2nd straight Australian Baseball League title
The Melbourne Aces defeated Perth Heath, 9-2, to win their second consecutive Australian Baseball League (ABL) title. The win earned the Aces the Claxton Shield, the trophy that goes to the winners of Australia's national baseball championship since 1934.

Expansion club Weichuan Dragons open camp as CPBL gets ready for its first-ever 5-team season
CPBL’s expansion team Weichuan Dragons opened their spring training camp at their minor league complex in Doulio, Yulin, on 1 February. The CPBL season will start on March 13th, as the defending champions Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions take on the CTBC Brothers in Tainan.

Japan Softball League to open on 3 April with mid-season break for Olympics
The Japanese Softball League (JSL) announced the schedule of its 2021 season with a total of 132 games. The first half of the season is slated from 3 April to 9 May, while the second half will be played from 4 September to 24 October. The finals will be played from 6-7 November at Fukushima Azuma Stadium. The Tokyo Olympics, scheduled from 21-27 July, will be played during the mid-season pause.

Tomateros de Culiacan win Mexican Pacific League
The Tomateros de Culiacan needed 10 innings to defeat the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in Game Seven of the Mexican Pacific League (LMP; Liga Mexicana del Pacifico) championship series. It's their 13th LMP title overall, the third in the last four seasons and the second in a row.

Premier12 alumn Darryl George blasts record 2 grand slams, 10 RBI in a single ABL game
Darryl George, the national team third baseman for Australia at the WBSC Premier12 2019, set an Australian Baseball League (ABL) single-game record with two grand slams and 10 RBIs. His performance helped the Melbourne Aces defeat the Brisbane Bandits 22-2 on Saturday, 30 January.

Mexican Baseball League to open season on 20 May
The Tomateros de Culiacan needed 10 innings to defeat the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in Game Seven of the Mexican Pacific League (LMP; Liga Mexicana del Pacifico) championship series. It's their 13th LMP title overall, the third in the last four seasons and the second in a row.

WBSC Premier12 standout Ohtani, Angels agree to 2-year $8.5 million deal

WBSC Premier12 2015 standout Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB) have agreed to terms on a two-year US$ 8.5 million contract. Ohtani, who signed his first MLB deal on 7 December 2017, is an arbitration-eligible player. The Los Angels Angels will have control over him through the 2023 season.

Puerto Rico's Double-A Baseball League to open on 16 May

The Puerto Rican Baseball Federation (FBAPR, Federación de Béisbol Aficionado de Puerto Rico) has agreed on a new tentative date for the start of the 2021 season of the semi-pro Superior Double-A league. FBAPR President José Quiles Rosas indicated 16 May as the possible Opening Day.

Caribbean Baseball Cup to be played in April with Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands
Host-nation Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have all confirmed their participation in the Caribbean Baseball Cup (Copa del Caribe), which is scheduled for 16 to 24 April. The event is being organized by the Confederation of Caribbean Baseball (COCABE, Confederación del Caribe de Béisbol).

2021 West Asia Baseball Cup to be played in Iran, tentatively set for July
Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) Member at Large and Pakistan Baseball Federation (PBF) President Syed Fakhar Ali Shah recently visited Iran to conduct a venue inspection for the 15th West Asia Baseball Cup. He was accompanied by PBF Director of Youth Development Amaid Kazmi, along with high-ranking officials from India's baseball federation, President Krishnamurthy and Secretary-General Harish Kumar.

Japanese female baseball players practicing in snow goes viral
The Komadai Tomakomai High School student-athletes practicing in the harsh conditions attracted quite a lot of interest on social media. The Japanese high school girl's baseball team loves the game so much that a field covered with snow would not stop a recent training session in Hokkaido.

Luisa Gauci: Australian women's baseball player lands in US to pursue dream

20-year old Luisa Gauci left Brisbane at age 16 for her first experience. She played in the WBSC-sanctioned 2017 Phoenix Cup international women's baseball tournament in Hong Kong.

Tunisian Baseball5 championship to target youth with 240-team national tourney

Tunisia's 2021 Baseball5 National Championship has the goal to grow the sport in the country by involving as many as 240 teams, 10 of those representing the Tunisian Governorates.

Softball New Zealand great Nathan Nukunuku named among Top 30 Maori athletes of last three decades
WBSC Integrity Unit launches #SafeCall safeguarding campaign
Melbourne Aces v Perth Heat - Australian Baseball League - Championship - February 12, 2021
WBSC Home Run News - January 2021
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About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Pully, Switzerland -- adjacent to Lausanne, the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 211 National Federation and Associate Members in 139 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually. 
The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Premier12, the World Baseball Classic and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's), and the Softball World Cups, (U-12 Mixed, U-15 Women's, U-18 Women's, U-18 Men's, U-23 Men's, Women's and Men's), and official disciplines Baseball5 (Senior and Youth World Cups) and E-Sports as well as Baseball, Softball and Baseball5 events at the Olympic Games.

For more information, visit www.wbsc.org, which is available in six languages: English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.