With a Baseball World Cup held every two years in the under-12 category, and Softball World Cups 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 Cup", the results of the tournaments affect the WBSC world rankings, which you can read about by clicking here.

United States won the WBSC Under-12 World Cup for the fifth time in 2023 ©WBSC
United States won the WBSC Under-12 World Cup for the fifth time in 2023 ©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, but the US claimed it back in 2022 as they won the final against Venezuela.

In 2023, the US won the title for a fifth time by beating Chinese Taipei 10-4 in the final.

Each edition of the event has been held in Tainan in Chinese Taipei.

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 Cups are held biennially.  

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

Japan are the reigning Under-18 Men's Softball World Cup champions, after beating Australia 9-2 in the final in Palmerston North, New Zealand, in 2020.

Hermosillo in Mexico will host the next edition in November 2023.

The Under-18 Women's Softball World Cup was last held in Peru in December 2021, with the United States winning their fourth-straight title.

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

Japan are the holders of the under-23 event thanks to their victory over South Korea in the 2022 final in Taiwan, where they prevailed 3-0. 

The Japanese are also the current under-18 world champions after winning in Taipei in 2022, beating hosts Chinese Taipei 2-1 in the final.

At the Under-15 World Cup in Hermosillo in Mexico in August and September 2022, the Americans beat Cuba 4-3 in the final to win their second consecutive title.

This was the seventh world title in this age bracket for the US.

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.

Other events include the Women's Baseball World Cup and the men's and women's Softball World Cups.