02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019

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Hosted by:   JPN MEX TPE KOR

II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

17 November 2019: Japan wins WBSC Premier12, Seiya Suzuki named MVP

17 November 2019: Japan wins WBSC Premier12, Seiya Suzuki named MVP
Two years ago at the Tokyo Dome, the top-ranked National Baseball Team in the world won it all.

On Sunday, 17 November, the Samurai Japan National Baseball Team made a 44,960-crowd at Tokyo Dome ecstatic, overcoming an early deficit to defeat rival Korea in the final of the II WBSC Premier12.

Japan took the lead in the bottom of the second as first baseman Tetsuto Yamada hit a three-run home run off Korea's starter, Hyeon-jong Yang. The left-hander will move to Major League Baseball (MLB).

Both Yamada and Premier12 MVP Seiya Suzuki would go on to help Samurai Japan win a historic gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Six relievers proved the key to Samurai Japan success after starter Shun Yamaguchi didn't survive the first inning.

The second edition of the WBSC flagship event opened on 2 November at Estadio Charro de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was a warm Saturday night when USA center fielder Drew Waters homered off veteran right-hander Rob Cordemans to leadoff the game against the Netherlands. The US would win, 9-0, and qualify for the super round together with the hosts Mexico. Waters, then 20, would get another hit in the tournament.

Mexico would defeat the US, 3-2, in a ten-inning bronze medal game to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Guadalajara hosted group A. The future winner Japan and Chinese Taipei, qualified for the super round out of group B, hosted in Taichung, Taiwan. Second place Korea and Australia qualified out of group C, hosted in Seoul, Korea.

With over 300,000 fans in attendance over 32 games, the second edition of the WBSC Premier12 proved a success. During the super round, a total of 45,000 news articles were published in Japan, the host nation. The figure almost doubles the articles published during the inaugural edition.

The announcement of Japan as the new Premier12 champions smashed the record for WBSC’s most viral tweet, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 when WBSC tweeted that Olympic baseball and softball would make a historic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games (approx. 10k retweets).

Premier12 made the front pages also in Korea. Mexico's historic qualification was celebrated on Twitter by the country's President, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The WBSC distributed a record amount of prize money to the teams: US $5,210,000. The champion, Japan, received $1,610,000, marking a 40% increase over the inaugural edition.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari praised the format of the tournament.
"The format based on our rankings works. The position in the ranking helps define the real strength of a baseball programme since also youth events guarantee points," commented Fraccari after the championship game. "The Premier12 helps the internationalization and the globalization of baseball. This is a fact," added Fraccari. "The game needs to be global."

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) shares the WBSC vision to grow the sport.

"We discussed together with WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari how to make baseball even more global," commented on the night of the final NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito. "I think the globalization of soccer needs to be our benchmark. I really appreciate the way international soccer gets fans and players excited."

He added: "We as the NPB are very much in favour of the globalization of baseball. I think it is a way to attract more people to baseball and fight back the growth of other sports. Soccer, rugby and table tennis recently enjoyed serious growth here in Japan. We are seriously competing with them for the attention of fans."

You may also be interested in:
- Japan wins WBSC Premier12 2019
- Samurai Japan manager Inaba comments the win
- Mexico's historic third place
- MVP, All-World Team
- Players, managers praise Premier12 success

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