The Aussie Steelers will line up against some familiar foes – and some not-so-familiar ones – when they play in the 2017 WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship this year.
The championship, to be held in the remote Canadian City of Whitehorse, Yukon, will feature 20 teams from five global regions.
While all of the world’s softball powerhouse teams will be vying for the title, there will be some potential opponents who may have other teams scratching their heads and wondering.
India and Turkey will be making their men’s world championship debuts, with very little known about the men’s softball programs in those countries.
The XV WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship will be held from July 7-16. Hosts Canada are looking to defend their world title after capturing gold in 2015, their first since 1992. New Zealand took home the silver in 2015, while Venezuela claimed the bronze.
The Aussie Steelers team is yet to be announced. Arch-rivals New Zealand, ranked No. 1 in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, have named a squad that features 10 players returning from the 2015 championship.
The competing teams are:
- Africa (2): Botswana, South Africa
- Americas (7): Argentina, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, United States, Venezuela
- Asia (4): Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan
- Europe (5): Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Israel, Turkey
- Oceania (2): Australia, New Zealand
In such a remote location, Whitehorse does not get to host many events of global significance. So the locals are keen to showcase their town and surrounding region.
“We’re just over 100 days away from first pitch so now the final preparations begin,” host committee chief George Arcand said recently. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our territory to the rest of the world, while providing local residents with exciting, fast-paced games and a calibre of fastpitch that they don’t normally get to see.”
The championship will highlight a two-week long celebration of softball in Whitehorse, with additional community events in the week leading up to the opening ceremony. Festivities will include a kids’ softball clinic, concerts and public barbecues.
While 2017 will be the first time Yukon has hosted a senior men’s event, Softball Yukon has hosted three previous world championships – the Junior Men’s World Championship in 2008 and 2014, as well as the 2012 Women’s World Championship.
The tournament format involves 103 games played over 10 days, with six games per day in a round-robin on each of the two fields at the Pepsi Softball Centre.