Baseball to make global pitch at inaugural Premier12 tourney

TOKYO (AP) Baseball will be looking to move a step closer to an Olympic return with the introduction of the new Premier12 tournament.

The quadrennial tournament is being organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation with Olympic qualification going to the winner, beginning in 2019, should the sport be reinstated to the games.

Featuring the top 12 nations in the WBSC rankings, the inaugural tournament will be played in Japan and Taiwan from Nov. 8-21.

Baseball has been out of the Olympics since the 2008 Beijing Games but is favored to return to the program for the Tokyo 2020 Games because of its popularity in Japan.

The joint bid of baseball-softball has been recommended for inclusion by the Tokyo organizing committee along with four other sports.