Ebersohn’s Two Homers Secures Fifth Win for South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – You heard it here first: South African baseball is on the rise! With yet another dominant performance, South Africa put an exclamation point on its series with France, claiming an 11-4 victory to defeat its European visitors five games to two. Rowan Ebersohn jacked two home runs and drove in six to finish with five of the hosts’ 16 round-trippers.

If the following sounds familiar, it is not a coincidence: South Africa came out charging, scoring two runs before French starter Yoan Antonac could record an out. In fact, for the sixth time in seven games, the home side scored in the opening frame.

It was Kyron Bibis, who has served in the leadoff spot with Victor Ngoepe unavailable for the three games in Cape Town, who got South Africa started. The centerfielder walked to start the game and went to third on a two-bagger by Nicholas Eagles. Ebersohn then drove both runners home on a single to centre. Antonac, as he did in first start, recovered momentarily to notch a pair of strikeouts, but his defence let him down.

Benjamin Smith bounced a ball to shortstop that should have erased Ebersohn, but the transfer was bungled and South Africa had two on. Dayle Feldtman made France pay with a hit up-the-middle, and the score read 4-0. A strikeout, Antonac’s third of the frame, ended the threat.

Dean Jacobs, who had walked a pair and thrown a wild pitch in the top of the first, settled down in his second inning of work. Jacobs went 1-2-3 with a whiff to keep France off the board.

The bottom half of the frame was all Charl Cordier. Benjamin Bodet replaced Antonac for the visitors, but Cordier greeted him with a first-pitch homer to left field. Bodet got the next three batters, but South Africa now sported a five-run lead.

France fought back in the third against reliever Damon King. F. Kovals reached on a defensive miscue and stole second before Dylan Gleeson took a free pass. King then induced a groundball to second that turned into a nifty double play, but veteran Andy Paz singled through the left side to break up the shutout.

An inning later, South Africa’s defence imploded. Leonel Céspedes started a rally with a leadoff double and José Paula joined him on the bases after a walk. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position and groundball by Kovals turned into a two-error, two-run safe call. Gleeson then bounced another ball to shortstop with the same result, with Kovals coming around to score. A fourth error on the infield sent Gleeson to third, but the unlucky Timothy Lee finally generated a grounder that was fielded and the nightmare inning was over. France, however, had posted three runs on the board.

The next two half-innings saw three-up, three-down in each, with South Africa clinging to a 5-4 lead. A switch by France to Jonathan Mottay, however, jumpstarted South Africa’s bats again.

With one down against Mottay, Ebersohn mashed a longball to centre for one run and Brandon Bouillon took a pitch before belting his four-bagger, targeting the left field wall for back-to-back jacks. A pair of walks spelled the end of the day for Mottay and Clémént Esteban had to come in to get France out of the inning.

Neither club could change the 7-4 scoreline until the eighth inning. Yesterday’s hero Kyle Botha, who had entered as a defensive replacement at first, led off with a base on balls issued by Franklín de la Rosa and moved over two bases on an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch. After a free pass to Cordier, Bibis drove a ball to centre for the sacrifice fly and Eagles drew yet another base on balls.

Up stepped Ebersohn and crushed a home run to right field and the scoreboard changed to double digits for the fourth time in seven games. Jayde Thorne then concluded the contest with a quick 1-2-3 and South Africa celebrated its resounding series win.

South Africa picked up 110 rankings points during the recently concluded Under-23 World Cup and will add at least six more points for its defeat of France. As previously reported [link], when the new WBSC World Rankings are released, South Africa will find itself at No. 23, quite possibly the first time it appears inside the Top 25. France will fall a place to 25th.

Ebersohn finished 3-for-5 with six RBI and three runs, the only player on either side with more than one hit. His pair of dingers gave him five in his last 10 games. Bibis reached base three times in the victory. South Africa totalled nine hits and eight walks as a team, while France could muster only five hits and four free passes. Maxime Lefevre, Paz, Céspedes, Paula, and Kovals all had a hit and a walk for France.

Six pitchers saw action for France, with Antonac (0-1) taking the loss. The Phillies’ farmhand had his second-straight rough appearance as one of the youngest players in the tournament. Bodet put in one of France’s better pitching performances of the series with three innings of one-run relief, sending down three on strikes. Clémént and Maxence Esteban each were unscored on the bump.

Seven moundsmen took the hill for South Africa, with Brad Erasmus earning his second win. He struck out two in two scoreless, while Jacobs did not allow a hit in his two innings to start. Jacobs issued two free passes but struck out four. All four runs for France were unearned.

We will release a list of tournament awards and statistics tomorrow. An unofficial box score is available [here]. Other articles for this series: Game 1 [link], Game 2 [link], Game 3 [link], Game 4 [link], Game 5 [link], and Game 6 [link].

A big ‘thank you’ to South Africa’s scorekeeper, Augusta ‘Gussie’ Phillips, for the box scores and statistics. All pictures copyright Cape Town Baseball Federation, with the exception of the first picture of Ebersohn, copyright Extra Innings.

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Elario, Botha Clinche Series Victory for South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – With its offense still clicking in high gear, South Africa emphatically claimed its series with France this afternoon, defeating the visitors 13-1 for its fourth win in the seven-game set. Jared Elario hurled six shutout frames and South Africa homered for the sixth-straight contest.

The hallmark of this series has been the immediate onslaught by South Africa’s offence. The home side had its best start yet in today’s game, blasting seven hits and taking advantage of two errors and two wild pitches to score nine runs in the first frame.

French starter and Cubs’ minor leaguer Donato Auguste saw four runs cross the plate before retiring a batter, but the first and fourth batters reached via defensive mistakes. The first run scored after Kyron Bibis reached on an error, Kyle Botha doubled down the left field line, and Rowan Ebersohn singled home Bibis. An error plated Botha before Hein Robb singled home Ebersohn, with the fourth run coming on a wild pitch.

Auguste got back-to-back outs, including a K, but Josh Halvorsen and Nicholas Eagles laced one-base hits to keep the runners moving. Halvorsen would swipe home on a double steal before Bibis plated Eagles. France’s misery then continued as Botha blasted a round-tripper to left field before the nightmare inning was over.

After such a long opening frame, Elario only gave his fielders a quick break, sending three up and three down in the bottom of the first.

France’s starter, only 20, snapped out of his funk by the second inning and Auguste and Elario matched zeroes for the next four frames. While Auguste issued free passes in the second, third, and fifth, the French lineup only solved Elario in the bottom of the fifth.

Having allowed his only baserunner via error, Elario finally lost his no-hitter when Ariel Soriano bounced a ball through the right side to start the fifth. Elario’s D picked him up, however, turning a 6-4-3 double play. Back-to-back base on balls gave France some hope, but South Africa’s moundsman got the third out on a strikeout looking.

Auguste ran out of steam in the sixth, plunking Botha with a pitch. The South African catcher shook off the blow and promptly took second by theft. A grounder moved him to third and a walk knocked Auguste out of the game. Hein Robb greeted reliever Antoine Rault with a run-scoring single and Brandon Bouillon followed with a base-knock of his own and France found itself in mercy rule territory at 11-0.

Although Rault buckled down for two outs to end the frame, South Africa had taken a commanding lead after the scoreless middle innings. Elario did face a threat in the bottom of the sixth, as Felix Brown singled and Andy Paz laced a two-base hit, but a popup retained the lead.

With the game entering mercy rule territory, South Africa struck a final blow in the top of the seventh. Nicholas Eagles, playing in place of injured captain Jonathan Phillips, roped a two-bagger down the left field line on the inning’s first pitch. Bibis dropped a safety into left to put runners on the corners.

Eagles was picked off, taking an RBI away from Botha, who stepped up a notch as vice-captain with Phillips injured. The South African backstop boomed a double off the left-centre field wall to score Bibis and came home as Ebersohn beat the shift and bounced a ball through the infield.

Needing a 13-run miracle, France came up to the dish in the bottom of the seventh having yet to score in the contest. Jayde Thorne entered on the mound and got two outs with ease, the second erasing Frédéric Hanvi, who had singled, with F. Kovals on a fielder’s choice. David Gauthier finally put the French side in the scoring column, ripping a double to left-centre on the first pitch. A final groundball sealed France’s fate and South Africa ensured the series win. Continue reading

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Lewis-Walker Tosses Gem for South Africa in 7-1 Defeat of France

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South Africa continued its excellent approach early in the game, jumping out to an early lead, and Robert Lewis-Walker tossed his second gem of the series as the host nation cruised to a 7-1 victory over France. The result gives South Africa a 3-2 lead in the seven-game series, with two more games at the Durbanville Ballpark.

As it has done in all but one game this series, South Africa scored in the game’s opening frame. Jonathan Phillips doubled with two down and Rowan Ebersohn bounced a ball up-the-middle to score a single run against France’s Owan Ozanich.

After a nifty double play in the top half, Kyron Bibis gave South Africa a big boost in the bottom of second. The slender leadoff hitter ripped a two-run bomb to score Dayle Feldtman and boost his team’s advantage to 3-0.

Meanwhile, Lewis-Walker appeared very comfortable throughout his appearance. In the third, Bastien Dagneau ripped a long double to start the frame, moving to third on a bloop hit to right by José Paula. Lewis-Walker kept his easy pace, however, and pumped fastballs by veteran Felix Brown before sending him down swinging.

In the third, Keegan Swanepoel laced a two-bagger to right with one down. Feldtman then sent his own safety to right and the home side took a four-run lead.

Both pitchers then settled into a groove. Lewis-Walker gave up another long hit to Ariel Soriano, but sent down a pair of batters on strikes in the top half of the fourth. It was nothing doing against Ozanich in the bottom of the frame before Lewis-Walker returned for a scoreless fifth, striking out his seventh batter.

The game’s defensive highlight came in the latter half of the frame, as Charl Cordier lined a ball into shallow left field, but Maxime Lefevre raced from the regular shortstop position to make a leaping catch at full extension [video].

South Africa finally broke through again in the seventh after Benjamin Smith led off with a one-base hit to centre. Brandon Bouillon immediately took advantage, lacing a two-bagger to left centre for the 5-0 lead. A walk to Feldtman would follow, but reliever Meylian Marin would get out of the inning without further damage. Continue reading

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Lefevre’s Hustle, Mottay’s Pitching Tie France – South Africa Series at Two

DURBAN, South Africa – After three days of early South Africa leads on the way to offensive outbursts from both sides, France waited until the game’s final frame to win the pitching duel, 5-4. The walkoff win tied the series at two, with the series shifting to Cape Town for the final three games.

Kyle Townend and Jonathan Mottay, both of whom had already pitched in the game, matched goose eggs for the first two and one-half innings. Each side put the leadoff on base to start the frame, but neither team could scratch a run until the third.

With France batting as the home side, Dylan Gleeson walked to lead off the bottom of the third, moving to second on a wild pitch. Felix Brown received identical treatment, with Townend’s second wild pitch putting runners in scoring position with nobody out. Townend buckled down for a K, but veteran Andy Paz elevated a fly ball to right to score Gleeson. The relay throw went wild, however, and France took a 2-0 lead without a single hit. Continue reading

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Céspedes’ Arm, Bat Lead France to First Victory in South Africa

DURBAN, South Africa – South Africa continued its onslaught on the French pitching staff, but France piled it on in the middle innings and defeated South Africa 11-9. After 12 home runs left the park in Boksburg over the weekend, the two sides combined for another three, with Rowan Ebersohn homering for the third straight day.

Once more, the host nine started hot, knocking recent Phillies’ signee Yoan Antonac out of the game after only six batters. The tall right-hander struggled badly with his control, striking out the second batters he faced, but walking four and surrendering a hit to captain Jonathan Phillips. Benjamin Bodet shut down any further threat in relief, but South Africa scored four in the game’s opening frame.

France answered in the third after José Paula led off with a single through the left side, advancing to second on a wild pitch. A walk set up a sacrifice bunt, but South Africa mishandled it and a run scored. After a walk, Ariel Soriano lifted a fly ball to centre to score one and, with two down, the hosts had a chance to escape. Leonel Céspedes ensured the rally would pay off, however, ripping a double to centre to score two. The fifth run of the frame came on a Frédéric Hanvi one-base hit.

An inning later, having held South Africa scoreless, France was at it again. Felix Brown and Maxime Lefevre drew two-out walks and Gary-South Shore Rail Cats’ Andy Paz ripped a longball down the right field line. The three-run bomb, Paz’ second in two days, gave France an 8-4 lead.

South Africa immediately answered, however, with a one-out double by Kyle Botha setting up former Twins’ prospect Ebersohn. Ebersohn blasted a two-run dinger to right to get within two. It was the third straight day that Ebersohn had sent a ball out of the yard. Dating back to the Under-23 World Cup, he has four round-trippers in his last eight games.

Free passes continued to be trouble for South Africa in the fifth. Céspedes drew a base on balls to start the frame and Bastien Dagneau launched a ball over the wall in centre for a 10-6 lead.

The hosts answered for a single run in the bottom of the frame, with a walk to Dayle Feldtman and a sacrifice bunt all that Kyron Bibis needed to score on a one-base hit. It was Feldtman again in the sixth as the backstop drilled a two-run double to score Phillips and Benjamin Smith, who had both drawn free passes. The Feldtman knock brought the South Africans within one, but that was as close as they would get.

Franklín de la Rosa and Céspedes would slam the door in the final three innings, however. Although de la Rosa struggled with his control, he did not give up a run in the seventh or eighth. An RBI-single by Soriano scored Paz in the eighth for an insurance run and France’s closer came on. Céspedes coaxed a line-out for one down and then struck out No. 3 and 4 in South Africa’s lineup for the save.

After escaping Antonac’s disastrous start, France held South Africa to five runs on eight hits and seven walks the rest of the way, just good enough to outlast their hosts. Bodet (1-0) earned the win despite surrendering three runs on six hits and two walks in 4 2/3 frames, whiffing three.

Dean Jacobs (0-1) took the loss, with errors contributing four unearned runs among the eight he allowed. Jacobs gave up four hits in 3 2/3, but walked five. He got three punchouts. Brad Erasmus saw action for the second time in the series, dishing out three free passes and two runs on one hit. He whiffed two in 2 1/3 innings. Kieran Cree then offered a solid 2 2/3 (two hits, one run, two walks, three Ks) before Timothy Lee got the final out.

Paz, France’s most experienced player, continued to swing a hot bat with a 2-for-3 performance, though he was the only player with multiple hits. France’s eight hits and 11 walks were mixed evenly up-and-down the lineup.

Botha was the only South African with a multi-hit game, going 3-for-6 with two doubles. Phillips had a hit and two walks, while Feldtman drew three base on balls to go with his two-baggers.

Unofficial box score available [here]. Wraps from Game 1 [link] and Game 2 [link] are also available.

The series remains in Hoy Park for the fourth contest on Wednesday, due to start at 1:30 p.m. local time.

A big ‘thank you’ to South Africa’s scorekeeper, Augusta ‘Gussie’ Phillips, for the box scores and statistics. All pictures copyright Extra Innings. 

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Ebersohn’s Big Day Drives South Africa to Second France Win

BOKSBURG, South Africa – South Africa drilled France for the second consecutive day in their friendly series, riding a 9-0 lead to a 14-8 victory at the Gauteng Ballpark. Robert Lewis Walker gave the hosts an excellent pitching performance, but the sides combined for five home runs before the day was finished.

South Africa, batting first in the game, set the tone once more with a good start. Rowan Ebersohn hit his second home run in as many games, with the round-tripper scoring Kyle Botha, who had earned a walk with one out. The hosts actually had a chance to put up a crooked number in the frame after Benjamin Smith lined a triple to right and Keegan Swanepoel walked, but the Cubs’ Donato Auguste got France out of the jam with a bouncer back to the mound.

Walker got off to a great start in the bottom of the frame, sending down the first two batters swinging before getting a flyout for South Africa’s first 1-2-3 of the series. A walk turned into an unearned run in the second and Walker held the 3-0 lead in the second with ease.

Auguste finally had a scoreless inning in the third despite a pair of hits, and Walker once more went three-up, three-down to finish inning No. 3.

Esteban Prioul, who was excellent in the third, was battered an inning later as South Africa broke the game wide open. Jonathan Phillips singled to start the frame, moving to second on an error and a walk and an infield hit loaded the bases. Swanepoel beat out an infield single to shortstop to score one before back-to-back free passes made it 6-0.

An error with one out added another run before Kyle Botha stroked a single to centre that plated Brandon Bouillon, but Charl Cordier was caught off the bag for out number two. Prioul induced a bouncer in front of the plate to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

Walker’s no-hitter was finally broken up with one out in the fourth as Andy Paz went yard, but France could not break throw to score again in the frame.

South Africa then put up another big inning, with Bouillon ripping a double to left to score one. A Kyron Bibis single pushed the score to 11-1, but the host nation plated another pair in the frame on a series of miscues by France.

The sides swapped zeroes in the next two half-innings before France mounted a comeback in the sixth. Walker came out of the game after having tossed a mere 62 pitches, with Head Coach Neil Adonis aiming to get his pitching staff some work. France took advantage immediately, however.

Maxime Lefevre doubled to centre to start the frame, scoring a batter later on a one-base hit by Paz. Leonel Céspedes ripped a triple to the left field wall to score Paz and came home on a wild pitch. With one out, France capitalised on another mistake, as Frédéric Hanvi took first after being plunked.

Bastien Dagneau immediately sent him home on a first pitch longball to right. José Paula added a four-bagger of his own after a strikeout and, in a matter of minutes, France had narrowed the score to 13-7.

Both sides, however, quickly went cold as the bullpens got to work. Neither side scored in the seventh, while South Africa added only one run after an error and two walks in the eighth. Ebersohn had the only hit in the frame, roping a double.

Continue reading

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Fourteen-Run Sixth Lifts South Africa to Victory in France Series

BOKSBURG, South Africa – In a back-and-forth game to which the final score did not do justice, South Africa exploded for 14 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and walked off with a 24-13 victory in the first game of its friendly series with France. In the high altitude of the Gauteng region, seven balls left the yard, including two by the hosts’ Benjamin Smith.

The two sides mirrored each other in the early innings, with both sides plating three in the first, adding to the score in the second, and going scoreless in the third. It was the visitors that struck first after Felix Brown singled up-the-middle, starting a sequence that included a hit batter, an error, a wild pitch, and a groundball. Leonel Céspedes then ripped a run-scoring double to give France the 3-0 lead.

South Africa, on the other hand, scored its runs cleanly, starting with a leadoff safety by Victor Ngoepe. After a Kyle Botha one-base hit, Jonathan Phillips tripled to score both and came around on a Hein Robb single. South Africa had the chance to break things wide open as Smith laced a one-base hit, but Rowan Ebersohn, who had walked earlier in the frame, was thrown out at home.

The visitors struck back in the second as Felix Brown, the French leadoff hitter, took a Jared Elario pitch deep to dead centre for a solo shot. South Africa would get the run back and then some as Phillips crushed a three-run roundtripper to left field to make it 6-4 through two.

Elario and Owen Ozanich both finally put up zeroes in the third, with South Africa’s hurler added another goose egg in the fourth. With two outs in the bottom of that frame, however, the home side built a rally that was capped with a three-run bomb by Smith to centre that spelled the end of Ozanich’s day.

Down 9-4 in the fifth, France got back into the game on back-to-back one-out doubles by Frédéric Hanvi and Bastien Dagneau. Dagneau raced to third on a throwing error on the relay and then scored on another miscue a batter later.

Botha would recoup one of the runs with a dinger in the bottom of the fifth frame, sending another big fly over the centre field fence.

Facing a 10-6 deficit, France got to work in the sixth. Maxime Lefevre walked to start things off, scoring on a double by Andy Paz, fresh off his first season in independent ball after seven years in the minors. Ariel Soriano singled him home before Hanvi ripped a double to make it 10-8. An intentional walk to Dagneau loaded the bases and David Gauthier lifted a fly to right field to score a run. Reliever Brad Erasmus then got a big groundball to preserve the one-run lead.

Esteban Prioul came in to pitch for the French side and the dam suddenly burst. Ebersohn greeted the reliever with another moonshot to centre. Veteran Keegan Swanepoel then drew a walk and move up a base on a one-base hit by Robb. Three straight free passes, including one by new reliever Jonathan Mottay, plated two runs and left the bases loaded for Ngoepe.

The younger of two baseball-playing brothers and Bristol Pirates’ farmhand laced a double to wall in centre, clearing the bases and, suddenly, South Africa found itself up 16-9. The hosts did not stop there, however, reloading the bases on a single to Phillips and a base on balls to Botha. One run came home on an Ebersohn sac fly before Swanepoel and Robb stroked RBI-singles.

The big blow came once more from Smith, though, as South Africa’s centerfielder blasted a three-run homer to centre once more to increase the lead to 22-9. Kyron Bibis then lifted his own big fly to the same spot and the 14-run inning was complete.

After being on the receiving end of one of its worst drubbings in recent memory, France could have gone quickly in the seventh. Instead, it loaded the bases on a Lefevre single and two walks, with Soriano dropping a two-run single over the infield to score two. Another walk jammed the sacks, with a runner crossing home on a groundball to the left side, with a throwing error plating a fourth run in the frame.

Erasmus induced a double play to prevent a further rally and the 37-run game came to a close on the mercy rule. The hosts out-hit France 19-12 and drew 10 walks while surrendering six, though they committed five errors to the visitors’ three.

Botha, Robb, and Smith all had three hits, with the latter driving in six and walking twice. Five other players collected a hitting brace, including Bibis, who drew two free passes as well.

Meanwhile, Hanvi led France with three safeties and Brown, Soriano, and Céspedes each had two. The bottom third of the French order sabotaged the rest of the lineup’s effort with a 1-for-11, five strikeout day.

Ozanich was the loser, surrendering eight runs on 10 hits and four walks. The long-time French hurler whiffed four in 3 2/3, throwing 87 pitches. Maxence Esteban, Prioul, Clément Esteban, and Mottay finished off the game for France.

Elario was solid, striking out six in four frames and walking only one. He allowed three earned runs on five hits. Cameron Fortuin, fresh off the Under-23 World Cup, allowed four earned runs on four hits and a walk in a single frame, while the win went to Erasmus, the final reliever of the day. He was touched for three earned runs on four walks and three hits, failing to send a batter down on strikes.

Unofficial box score [Link].

The series remains in Boksburg for another day, with the two teams tangling at 1 p.m. local time.

A big ‘thank you’ to South Africa’s scorekeeper, Augusta ‘Gussie’ Phillips, for the box scores and statistics. All pictures copyright Extra Innings. 

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New WBSC World Rankings

With México’s incredible extra-innings defeat of No. 2 Japan in last night’s Under-23 World Cup Final, it claimed the country’s first WBSC World Championship at any level. Its previous top finish was a bronze. México lost to only No. 2 Japan and No. 3 South Korea en route to its victory and, as a result, claims all 690 rankings points from the tournament.

It is always impossible to accurately guess new world rankings, with some results dropping out and the maths always summing up differently, but here is a quick stab at the changes for the Top 26 teams in the world (USA to South Africa). Previous rankings are in parentheses, from which we are fairly certain Japan will be the new No. 1, with big leaps for Venezuela (No. 11 to 9), Colómbia (16th to 14th) and South Africa (26th to 23rd). Only the top 12 teams qualify for the Premier 12 and the teams selected are now set, having changed only in order, not in place.

  1. Japan 5796 (2)
  2. USA 5515 (1)
  3. South Korea 4987 (3)
  4. Taiwan 3569 (5)
  5. Cuba 3495 (4)
  6. México 3362 (6)
  7. Australia 2441 (8)
  8. Netherlands 2422 (7)
  9. Venezuela 2311 (11)
  10. Canada 2142 (9)
  11. Puerto Rico 2106 (10)
  12. Dominican Republic 1836 (12)
  13. Panamá 1475 (13)
  14. Colómbia 1333 (16)
  15. Nicaragua 1197 (14)
  16. Italy 1135 (15)
  17. Brazil 941 (17)
  18. Czech Republic 926 (18)
  19. Israel 817 (19)
  20. China 612 (20)
  21. Argentina 462 (21)
  22. Germany 454 (22)
  23. South Africa 414 (26)
  24. Pakistan 364 (23)
  25. France 335 (24)
  26. Spain 325 (25)
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New Rankings Offer Premier 12 Insight

The WBSC released its new rankings yesterday, taking into account more than 250 new games played, including the Under-15 World Cup and numerous continental championships. The U.S. retained its rightful place at the top after winning the U15 global title and the U12 Pan-American Championship, while the next three nations—Japan, South Korea, and Cuba—all maintained their positions. The top 12 teams at the end of the year will make the cut for the Premier 12, an Olympic Games qualifier.

Numbers five through 10 saw some shuffling, with Taiwan sliding up one spot to fifth after accruing the most points thus far this year. The Asian nation earned bronze at the U15s and Asian Games, winning the U12 Asian title and placing second at the U18 level continentally. It exchanged places with Mexico, while the Netherlands moved up two places to No. 7, overtaking Australia and Canada.

Currently, the other three teams in contention for the Premier 12 are Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. With only the U23 World Cup remaining, the first two are safe, but the D.R.—which does not compete in some events, hurting its ranking—is only six points ahead of Panamá. The current No. 13, however, did not qualify for the U23s, likely leaving the Dominicans ahead of the cut.

One notable country will be left outside of baseball’s next top tournament as Italy fell to fifteenth, down from a peak of No. 9 in 2015. Just ahead of Europe’s second-ranked nation is Nicaragua, which fell one place.

While many teams lower in the rankings had more significant jumps, one nation continues its ascendancy, climbing for the fifth-straight year and eighth out of nine. Since starting 2010 at No. 27 in the world, Colómbia is now at No. 16 with 1007 points, just 128 behind Italy. Close on its heels is another country experiencing a prolonged breakout in Brazil.

Asia had a number of impressive risers, partly due to a larger number of games than normal this year. The top riser of any continent is No. 31 Indonesia (up 16), while Sri Lanka went up 11 to No. 41, Nepal went from 73rd to 65th, and the Philippines went up seven to No. 33. Europe had three big movers as the Ukraine went from No. 43 to No. 34 and Ireland jetted up nine spots to No. 42, while No. 58 Georgia went up 10 after a few years of dormancy. Finally, Chile may be a nation to watch as it is now tied at No. 50 after a four-year run that saw it gain 10 places from 2017, eight in 2016, and 13 in 2015.

Below are the rankings by continental federation. The full rankings can be found here [link].

Americas (COPABE)
2 Cuba
3 México
4 Canada
5 Puerto Rico
6 Venezuela
7 Dominican Republic
8 Panamá
9 Nicaragua
10 Colómbia
11 Brazil
12 Argentina
13 Perú
14 Chile
15 Honduras
16 El Salvador
17 Bolivia
18 Guatemala
19 Aruba
20 Curaçao
21 Ecuador
22 Costa Rica
23 US Virgin Islands

Asia (BFA)
1 Japan
2 South Korea
3 Taiwan
4 China
5 Pakistan
6 Hong Kong
7 Indonesia
8 Philippines
9 Sri Lanka
10 Iran
11 India
12 Nepal
13 Singapore
14 Iraq

Europe (CEB)
1 Netherlands
2 Italy
3 Czech Republic
4 Israel
5 Germany
6 France
7 Spain
8 Austria
9 Belgium
10 Croatia
11 Sweden
12 Ukraine
13 Lithuania
14 Slovakia
15 Great Britain
16 Poland
17 Ireland
18 Romania
19 Bulgaria
20 Belarus
21 Greece
22 Serbia
23 Switzerland
24 Slovenia
25 Estonia
26 Finland
27 Georgia
28 Hungary
29 Latvia

Oceania (BCO)
1 Australia
2 New Zealand
3 Guam
4 American Samoa

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Fall Instructs Rosters International Preview [Part III]

Our series of fall instructional camp rosters concludes today with the final 10 MLB clubs. In the first two parts, we previewed Arizona-Detroit [link] and Houston to Oakland [link], with players from every continent. We conclude today with players from several countries on the western side of the Pacific, plenty from the Caribbean, and one unheralded European.

The Phillies have three interesting players from the western side of the Pacific: New Zealand’s Kyle Glogoski, Australia’s Rixon Taylor-Wingrove, and Taiwan’s Hsien-Chieh Lin.

Glogoski had a superb debut in the minors this year, starting for the GCL Phillies West and finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 47/11 K/BB ratio in 39 innings. No word yet on whether he will return to the ABL for a second season.

Taylor-Wingrove is a 1B who slashed .241/.310/.342 in 23 games as Glogoski’s teammate. The Newcastle, Australia native also played with Glogoski for Sydney, quite possibly the only pair of ABL teammates to suit up on the same minor league squad.

And finally, Lin is a 19-year old pitcher who tossed only four innings, all for GCL Phillies East. The Taiwanese righty did not give up a hit, but walked four and struck out one.

Also worth noting that that Russia’s Anton Kuznetsov, who disappeared mid-season after being demoted to the GCL, is not listed on the instructs roster. We have not been able to figure out whether he was injured or not.

The only unusual international player on the Pirates’ instructs roster is South Korea’s Ji-Hwan Bae. SS debuted this year after being released from Atlanta contract, but returned home in May to defend himself against domestic violence. Bae, 19, finished at .271/.362/.349 with 10 stolen bases and a superb 15-16 BB-K ratio in 35 GCL games.

San Diego
The Padres have a wealth of international minor league players in instructs, including four from México: Efrain Contreras, Austin Ruiz, Brandon Valenzuela, and Gilberto Vizcarra. More unusual, however, is Spain’s Cristian Heredia, from Madrid.

Heredia is a 17-year old outfielder that played 54 games for the DSL Padres, hitting .240/.330/.345 with six outfield assists. Will be interesting to see whether Heredia suits up for Spain in the near future.

Did not release roster.

San Francisco and St. Louis

Do not hold instructional league.

Tampa Bay

The Rangers also take on Italy in instructs (Oct. 5) and have four interesting international players in camp: Sherten Apostel, Abdiel Mendoza, Keithron Moss, and Teodoro Ortega, all of which hail from various Caribbean locales.

Apostel is from Curaçao and his brother Shendrik Apostel is a first baseman in the Pirates’ system. Apostel had an excellent season for two teams, slashing .278/.420/.460 with excellent plate discipline (41BB, 50K) in 224 plate appearances. He had 18 errors in 43 games at 3B.

Mendoza and Ortega are both right-handed pitchers from Panamá. Mendoza (20) had a 3.15 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 14 G, 10 GS across two-levels of A-ball. Ortega (18) had a 2.11 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in the DSL in 42 2/3 innings.

And finally, the Bahamian Moss played 51 games as a middle infielder at age 16 in the DSL. Moss showed impressive plate discipline for someone so young, drawing 35 walks en route to a .196/.350/.276 line and eight stolen bases.


The Nationals have two interesting international players on the instructs roster. First is Jamori Blash, Jabari Blash’s brother, who hails from the US Virgin Islands. The first baseman hit only .218/.273/.358 with poor plate discipline in Low-A. One of four active USVI players (Jharel Cotton, Akeel Morris). The other player of note is Rodney Theophile, a right-handed pitcher from Nicaragua who had a 10.67 ERA in 14 1/3 innings as an 18-year old in the GCL. Theophile struck out 11 and walked 11.

There is a very unusual member of Atlanta’s instructs’ roster: Isranel Wilson, from the French Caribbean island of Saint-Martin and potential member of the French national team. The outfiellder hit .223/.305/.349 with 16 stolen bases as a 20-year old in A and High-A.

All photos ©Extra Innings UK, with the exception of the picture of Glogoski, ©Photosport.nz. An earlier edition of the article incorrectly stated that Wilson had been a member of the French NT already.

Posted in Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Caribbean, Chinese Taipei, Curaçao, Europe, France, New Zealand, Oceania, Panama, Russia, South Korea, Spain, St. Maarten, US Virgin Islands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment