The LABC 2018 has revamped and reloaded on all aspects, as Nations get ready to compete in this prestigious international baseball event - held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the past 34 years.
Invited nations include the United States, Dominican Republic, Mexico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Panama, and British Virgin Islands.
The USA-LABC international teams are coming off a banner 2017 campaign, winning gold in 4 age divisions. 2018 saw over 5000 athletes attend national trials, giving the States another great crop of talent.
"I was extremely pleased with the amount of interest and the level of talent we saw this year at our tryout events. A huge part of this is due to the national support we receive from facility and team directors." Stated USA-LABC international team Director and former MLB pitcher Jim Parque.
There are new changes for the LABC coming this August, which include stricter tournament rules standards, umpire training, and increased practice allotments.
"We have struggled with international tournament rules versus United States based rules, because our athletes are accustomed to what they experience in the States. I am honored that the LABC committee has provided more consistency with our style of competition." Stated Parque.
Another big change for the LABC is how international teams are selected. Competing nations will have stricter rules regarding age specifications and oversight to ensure competing athletes are meeting all criteria. Fields for the 14U, 16U, and 18U age divisions will see more action at the MLB complex fields of the Mets, White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Phillies. Additionally, increased private resort fields will be used throughout the tournament.
The USA-LABC international teams have officially partnered with Under Armour Baseball. This has brought an increased awareness to the LABC and its competitors, as well as improved the overall look of uniforms.
"Being powered by Under Armour is a major step in the right direction. We are competing in one of the biggest youth baseball events in the world, as having the opportunity to bring the Under Armour brand to our athletes is very special." Stated Parque.