With a Baseball World Cup held every two years in the under-12 category, and Softball World Championships for junior men and women staged on the same cycle, baseball/softball truly is a sport for all ages.

First staged in 2011 in Taiwan, the Under-12 Baseball World Cup is the most elite and highest level of competition in its age category.

Unlike other youth international competitions like the Little League World Series, which involve local clubs, it is the only global event across baseball, and all of sport, to feature national teams in this age group - 11 to 12-year-olds.

Dimensions of regulation Under-12 Baseball World Cup ballparks are significantly increased compared to local youth leagues, due to the superior nature and strength of the players involved.

Because the event is considered a "World Championship", the results of the tournaments affect the WBSC world rankings, which you can read about by clicking here.

Chinese Taipei won the WBSC Under-12 World Cup in 2019 ©WBSC
Chinese Taipei won the WBSC Under-12 World Cup in 2019 ©WBSC

The inaugural 13-team competition took place in July 2011 and was won by hosts Chinese Taipei, who overcame Cuba 3-2 in the gold medal match.

The United States then won the competition in 2013, 2015 and 2017, defeating Chinese Taipei in the final on each occasion.

Chinese Taipei regained the trophy in 2019 by beating Japan in the final.

Each edition of the event has been held in Tainan in Chinese Taipei, with the next in 2021.

Through the tournament, the WBSC is aiming to assume a leadership position for this age bracket in conjunction with major youth baseball organisations to further develop and promote baseball across the world.

The Junior Softball World Championships are held biennially with the men’s staged in even years and the women’s in odd years.

Open to under-19 national teams, both events were first held in 1981.

Australia are the reigning men’s champions having beaten Japan in the 2018 final, while the US hold the women’s crown after also defeating Japan in the 2019 final.

The men's event in 2020 will be held in Palmerston North in New Zealand, with the women seeing action in Lima in Peru.

Baseball World Cups at Under-15, Under-18 and Under-23 level are also firmly established on the calendar.

Mexico are the holders of the under-23 event thanks to their victory over Japan in the 2018 final in Colombia.

They will try to reclaim the trophy when they host it in 2020.

Chinese Taipei are the current under-18 world champions after winning in Gijang in South Korea in 2019.

The next edition in 2021 will take place in Sarasota and Bradenton in the US.

At the Under-15 World Cup in Panama in 2018, the Americans beat the hosts in the final.

They will defend their title in Tijuana in Mexico in 2020.

The shining lights from the age-restricted competitions can then set their sights on making their mark at the major senior events, such as the WBSC’s flagship international baseball competition, Premier12.

Others include the Women’s Baseball World Cup and the men’s and women’s Softball World Championships.