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2016 Women’s Softball World Championship Preview – Americas

posted Jul 18, 2016, 10:23 PM by Jairy Otero

SURREY, Canada — Ten nations from the Americas region will be represented at the 15th edition of the flagship women’s softball event in Surrey, Canada.  Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru will be making their debuts at the Women’s Softball World Championship in Surrey, while Canada and Venezuela include Olympians to their roster. Nine-time World Champions — USA — is always looked at as a contender for Gold.

The biennial event will bring together a record 31 national teams from all five regions, representing the largest global footprint in the event’s history, with eleven nations will be making their women’s world championship debuts.

All 124 games will be web-streamed to represent the most games ever streamed for a global softball event. All games will be streamed live and available on a subscription basis for a one-time fee of $US 19.95 via  worldsoftball.tv.


BRAZIL

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Brazil is making their world championships debut, a year after a fourth-place finish at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. The Brazilian squad is made up mostly of players of Japanese ancestry as Brazil has the largest Japanese immigrant community in the world. The team blends the vibrant Brazilian spirit with the Japanese hallmarks of discipline and hard work.

Brazil is grouped in Pool B with United States, Austria, and Israel.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:30am vs Austria
16 July at 8:00pm vs Israel

17 July at 8:00pm vs United States

History
WWC Appearances: 0
WWC Participation: n/a
Highest Finish: n/a
Previous Finish: n/a
Current Ranking: Unranked


CANADA

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The home team will be looking to ride the momentum from last summer’s Pan Am Games gold in Toronto. Canada, which had lost twice to the U.S. earlier in the tournament, upset the Americans 4-2 in the final, with all the runs coming in an extra inning.

Canada has finished third, fifth and fourth at the last three world championships and its lineup will be bolstered by the addition of veteran pitcher Lauren Bay Regula, who last played for the national team at the 2008 Olympics.

Canada is grouped in Pool D with Great Britain, Uganda, and Ireland.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:15pm vs Great Britain
16 July at 7:30pm vs Ireland

17 July at 7:30pm vs Uganda

History
WWC Appearances: 13
WWC Participation: 1970; 1974; 1978; 1982; 1986; 1990; 1994; 1998; 2002; 2006; 2010; 2012; 2014
Highest Finish: 2nd (1978)
Previous Finish: 4th (2014)
Current Ranking: 4


CUBA

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The 2011 Pan Am Games bronze medalists finished ninth at the 2014 world championships. The Cubans were in a position to make the playoff round with a 3-2 record after five games, but lost their final two round-robin games to eventual champion of Japan and Canada.

Cuba is grouped in Pool G with China, Guatemala, and Greece.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 11:00am vs Greece
16 July at 7:30pm vs Guatemala

17 July at 5:00pm vs China

History
WWC Appearances: 4
WWC Participation: 1990; 1994; 2010; 2014
Highest Finish: 9th (2010 & 2014)
Previous Finish: 9th (2014)
Current Ranking: 12


ECUADOR

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Another of the eleven countries making their world championship debut, Ecuador is seeing the results of their long-term youth development programs. Ecuador had struggled to come up with funding after money originally earmarked for the team was diverted to disaster relief after an earthquake hit in April but private donors have helped overcome this challenge.

Ecuador is grouped in Pool E with Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico, and India.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:15 vs Chinese Taipei
16 July at 12:30pm vs India

17 July at 5:00pm vs Puerto Rico

History
WWC Appearances: 0
WWC Participation: n/a
Highest Finish: n/a
Previous Finish: n/a
Current Ranking: Unranked


GUATEMALA

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Guatemala returns to the world stage after a 34 year women’s world championship absence. In recent years, they finished sixth at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games after reaching the semifinals at the 2010 Games.

Guatemala is grouped in Pool G with China, Cuba, and Greece.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 3:30pm vs China
16 July at 7:30pm vs Cuba

17 July at 12:30 vs Greece

History
WWC Appearances: 2
WWC Participation: 1978; 1982
Highest Finish: 10th (1982)
Previous Finish: 10th (1982)
Current Ranking: Unranked


MEXICO

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Mexico is competing at their fifth world championship after finishing 16th in 2012. The national team, which features several players with U.S. college experience, has also competed at the World Cup of Softball in the USA the past three years.

Mexico is grouped in Pool C with Australia, Switzerland, and Serbia.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:15pm vs Australia
16 July at 12:30pm vs Serbia

17 July at 10:00am vs Switzerland

History
WWC Appearances: 4
WWC Participation: 1070; 1974; 1990; 2012
Highest Finish: 5th (1970)
Previous Finish: 16th (2012)
Current Ranking: 14th


PERU

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Peru is playing at their first world championships. Peru is hoping to build a strong squad by 2019 when the country hosts the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima. The team includes players with Japanese and American backgrounds, including teenage catcher Vianca Dagnino, who captained the U-15 team last season and also plays with the U-19 squad.

Peru is grouped in Pool H with New Zealand, Italy, and Kenya.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:30am vs Italy
16 July at 12:30pm vs New Zealand

17 July at 12:30pm vs Kenya

History
WWC Appearances: 0
WWC Participation: n/a
Highest Finish: n/a
Previous Finish: n/a
Current Ranking: Unranked


PUERTO RICO

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Puerto Rico had a tough 2014 worlds, finishing 15th, but bounced back to earn a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games. They finished sixth at this year’s World Cup of Softball and hope to capitalize on their recent success. The country’s best finish at worlds was fifth in 1986.

Puerto Rico is grouped in Pool E with Chinese Taipei, India, and Ecuador.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:30am vs India
16 July at 8:00pm vs Chinese Taipei

17 July at 5:00pm vs Ecuador

History
WWC Appearances: 8
WWC Participation: 1974; 1978; 1986; 1994; 2002; 2012; 2014
Highest Finish: 5th (1986)
Previous Finish: 15th (2014)
Current Ranking: 11


UNITED STATES

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The U.S. national team, which draws from the immense talent pool from NCAA women’s softball, is a nine-time world champion, including seven consecutive titles between 1986 and 2010, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

But the Americans were upset by Japan at the 2008 Olympics and have lost the last two world championship finals to the same country. The U.S. did, however, beat Japan 6-1 in the final of the 2015 World Cup, giving the Americans eight titles in that competition. But in recent weeks, Japan has beat them both at the World Cup of Softball and the Japan/USA Series.

USA is grouped in Pool B with Brazil, Austria, and Israel.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 3:30pm vs Israel
16 July at 12:30pm vs Austria

17 July at 8:00pm vs Brazil

History
WWC Appearances: 14
WWC Participation: 1965; 1970; 1974; 1978; 1982; 1986; 1990; 1994; 1998; 2002; 2006; 2010; 2012; 2014
Highest Finish: Gold (1974; 1978; 1986; 1990; 1994; 1998; 2002; 2006; 2010)
Previous Finish: 2nd (2014)
Current Ranking: 2


VENEZUELA

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Often featuring a lineup loaded with players who competed in the NCAA, Venezuela has been a frequent contender at international competitions. Their line-up comes packed with six Olympic veterans. The Venezuelans best world championship finish was fifth in 2010 when the tournament was held in Caracas.

Long-time star Maria Soto, who is still competing at age 38, is the softball athlete representative on the World Baseball Softball Confederation Executive Board and is heavily involved in advocating for her sport’s return to the Olympics for 2020.

Venezuela is grouped in Pool A with Japan and France.

Round Robin schedule:

15 July at 8:30am vs France

16 July at 5:00pm vs Japan

History
WWC Appearances: 7
WWC Participation: 1974; 1982; 1998; 2002; 2006; 2010; 2012;
Highest Finish: 5th (2010)
Previous Finish: 12th (2014)
Current Ranking: 19

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