Events planned at Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has awarded the hosting rights of the U-18 Baseball World Cup® 2021 to USA Baseball and the Cities of Sarasota and Bradenton, the WBSC has announced.
“The 30th edition of the U-18 Baseball World Cup will take place in September 2021 and feature the world’s best players from 12 countries in the U-18 category (16 to 18 years old),” a news release says. As the host, the USA Baseball 18U National Team — the current four-time defending U-18 world champions — “will be granted an automatic berth into the global tournament,” the release adds.
All 50 U-18 World Cup games will be played at Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park, the Spring Training homes for Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively.
“This marks the first time since Cape Cod and Fenway Park hosted the 1995 Junior World Championship that the top youth international baseball event will be held in the United States,” the news release points out.
“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,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari in the announcement.
“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,” the release notes. “While the sport of baseball has never been as global as it is today,” the release continues, “there has never been a more opportune time to bring the U-18 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 increasing over 20%, to 25 million, over the past five years, in the U.S. alone, the release adds.
The U-18 Baseball World Cups, along with its continental qualifiers, have consistently featured players who have gone on to become stars in the sport, the release notes. Among them are the United States’ Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Buster Posey; Japan’s Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani; Korea’s Shin-soo Choo; and Cuba’s Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman, the release says.
For more information on the 2021 U-18 Baseball World Cup, visit SarasotaBradenton2021.com, or follow @SARBRAD2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Ticket information will be available in early 2020, the release notes.