GB Softball maintains high ESF rankings

Mon 16 Sep 2019

The European Softball Federation has just released its latest ranking of countries for female and male fastpitch and for slowpitch softball, and Great Britain is at or near the top  in all three categories.

GB programmes are ranked #1 in slowpitch and #4 in both female and male fastpitch, unchanged from the previous rankings issued in the autumn of 2018.

Rankings are based on final standings of European Championships, including youth categories, from the last two editions of each competition.  So the rankings reflect not just the performance of the senior teams from each country but younger players and teams as well.


Slowpitch

Even after their first-ever European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship loss to Germany in 2017, GB had remained on top of the European slowpitch rankings (shown below), and European Championship wins by the GB Men’s Slowpitch Team in 2018 and the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team this summer will only have strengthened that position.

Germany remains second and the Czech Republic third, but the Netherlands, who played in a European Slowpitch Championship for the first time this summer, have displaced the Irish in the top four.

With 12 countries included, this is the largest slowpitch ranking in ESF history and indicates the continued growth of the format on the Continent.


Women’s Fastpitch

In the women’s fastpitch rankings (shown below), the top four teams are unchanged, though Italy strengthened their position by winning the European Championship this year as well as the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier (though this tournament did not count towards their points total).

Great Britain remained in fourth place, behind the Czech Republic, despite finishing ahead of the Czechs at the last two European Women’s Championships.  Youth results in 2018 may have played a part in this.

Two teams that have moved up the rankings are France and Spain, who finished in the top six in this year’s European Championship and claimed places in the Olympic Qualifier.


Men’s Fastpitch

With no European Championship in 2019 either for senior or Junior men’s teams, the men’s fastpitch rankings (shown below) remain unchanged from last year, with GB holding down fourth place.

However, Belgium and Israel are hot on GB’s heels and GB will need to perform well in 2020 to maintain a top-four ranking.

As with slowpitch, more countries now feature in the European men’s fastpitch rankings than ever before.


World rankings

There are no World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings for slowpitch, but in the world fastpitch rankings, GB is #12 in the women’s rankings and #14 in the men’s rankings.

Much credit should go to GB Softball teams and programmes for achieving and maintaining such high European and World rankings with completely unfunded programmes and small player pools.


Ranking details

For those with an interest in the details, here is how the ESF ranking system works:

There are three rankings -- for women’s fastpitch, men’s fastpitch and slowpitch. 

Rankings are based on points (multiplied by 100) given according to final standings at European Championships in all categories, with the following weighting:

  • Senior European Championship – 100%
  • Junior European Championship – 50%
  • All others (Under-22 and Under-16) – 25%   

The ranking system only takes into account the two most recent Championships in each category, with the following weighting: 

  • Most recent European Championship – 100%
  • Previous European Championship – 50% 

A total of all the points awarded determines the placement of each country in each ranking.

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