A record 48 countries and territories are now featured in the new men's softball world rankings, with 14 nations making their historic debuts, it was revealed today.
Representing global expansion in the Americas, Asia and Europe, the new nations entering the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) men's softball world rankings include Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania, Malaysia, Peru, Slovakia, Sweden and Thailand.
"The addition of 14 new countries to the Men's Softball World Ranking is yet another example of the global reach of this discipline," WBSC Softball Division chairman Tommy Velazquez said.
"Half of these new nations come from Europe, a continent that will host the WBSC Men's Softball World Cup 2019 for the first time in history; undoubtedly it will boost the growth of men's softball around the world."
The latest rankings include 2018 results from the WBSC Junior Men's Softball World Championship in Prince Albert in Canada; the European Softball Championship in Havlickuv Brod, Kostelec nad Orlicí in the Czech Republic; the Asian Softball Championship in Jakarta; the South American Softball Championship in Monteria in Colombia; and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, also in Colombia.
All five Olympic continents - Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania - have at least one representative featured within the top 12 of the rankings.
The top three positions in the rankings are held by countries from three different continents.
Oceania's New Zealand is still the top-ranked nation with 3,524 points and followed by Americas-representative Canada with 3,388 and Asian nation Japan on 3,384 points.
Australia climbed one position to fourth in the world following their first-place finish at the WBSC Junior Men's Softball World Championship in Prince Albert.
With ranking points having expired from the Junior Men's Softball World Championship 2014, winner Argentina dropped one place and is now the fifth-ranked nation in the world.
Czech Republic, at number seven, remains Europe's top-ranked softball nation and sits only 15 points behind the sixth-placed United States.
After 10th-place finish at the Junior Men's Softball World Championship, South Africa advanced two spots to a historical high of 12th in the world, overtaking Botswana to become the top-ranked country in Africa.