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Japan, South Korea to host WBC games

By The Sports Xchange
The Dominican Republic national baseball teams parades onto the field for the World Baseball Classic championship at AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 19, 2013. UPI/Terry Schmitt
The Dominican Republic national baseball teams parades onto the field for the World Baseball Classic championship at AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 19, 2013. UPI/Terry Schmitt | License Photo

Japan and South Korean will be Asian host sites for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, organizers announced Tuesday.

Japan will host first- and- second-round pool games at the Tokyo Dome from March 7-16. The first-round games (Pool A) feature Japan, Cuba, China and Australia, said World Baseball Classic, Inc.

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South Korea will host first-round Pool B games at the new Gocheok Sky Dome from March 7-11. The pool includes Korea, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands and the winner of a WBC qualifier pool set for Sept. 22-25. Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan are in the qualifier pool.

Japan will be looking to win the WBC crown for the third time.

"I would like to express my appreciation to WBCI for their great effort to organize the fourth World Baseball Classic. I look forward to each game at every venue, which shall be exciting and competitive," said Katsuhiko Kumazaki, commissioner of the Nippon Professional Baseball, in a statement. "It is my sincere belief that this outstanding event will promote this great sport of baseball all over the world."

Korea Baseball Organization commissioner Bon N Koo was gracious that South Korea will get the opportunity to host games.

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"We are very pleased to host the WBC in Korea for the first time. I would like to convey my sincere gratitude towards WBCI and everyone involved in our bidding process for their industrious work," Koo said in a statement. "We will continue to prepare most diligently to make this baseball festival enjoyable not only for our fans in Korea, but for the fans all around the world."

The other two first-round pools will likely be played in the Western Hemisphere. The United States has been a host site in each of the three previous WBC events.

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