26/07/2019 - 04/08/2019

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Todd Fine: “Everybody will be after the USA”

Todd Fine: “Everybody will be after the USA”
25/07/2019

The manager of the three-time defending World Champions USA considers every game in the U-12 Baseball World Cup a challenge. Inoke Niubalavu leads the absolute beginners Fiji: “For us being here is a great opportunity”

The three-time defending World Champions USA is definitely the National Team to beat in the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup, set to open on Friday, 26 July, in Tainan.
“Anything can happen in a youth World Cup,” commented USA manager Todd Fine. “The teams that we will face are here for a reason, they’re all great teams. We are aware that everybody will be going for us, so what we plan is to play one game at a time and try to win it.”

Todd Fine is happy with the selection process: “In the United States we organize development camps in every Region, so this is a true USA National selection.”
Is it more about winning or developing players at this level? “We play to win, but we also spend six hours a day on the field to teach these kids how to play baseball. I would say it’s all about development.”

The USA will get started against Australia and then will face Venezuela, Korea, Italy and Mexico in group play. Todd Fine doesn’t look at one opponent in particular: “Facing every National Team is going to be a challenge…”.

The USA National Team is in Tainan to win, while Fiji is already happy to participate in the U-12 Baseball World Cup.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” said manager Inoke Niubalavu.

Fiji is an absolute beginner on the world stage.
“It’s the first time we play in a Baseball World Cup,” added Niubalavu “but we’ve had baseball in Fiji for 19 years now.”
Developing the game in the 300-island archipelago is not easy: “People in Fiji don’t realize how huge baseball is in the world. Competing on the world stage will make these kids more aware. I hope this has a good impact on the development of baseball.”

Inoke Niubalavu added: “We are trying to introduce baseball in schools. We started with eight, now we are working with 8. It’s a long process, but we are growing. Hopefully, one of the kids that are participating in the U-12 World Cup will grow as much as to become a professional player. That would make a difference.”

Fiji will debut in the U-12 Baseball World Cup against South Africa and will then face Czech Republic, Cuba, Japan and the hosts Chinese Taipei.