The European Softball Federation (ESF) has released their 2017 national team rankings. The rankings are based on the two most recent European Championship results in each of the following categories: Senior, Junior and others, using weighted distribution. No other tournaments are considered for this ranking system.
For every event the teams are awarded points based on number of participating teams x 100. If 10 teams participate then the top team receives 1000 points.
Those points are then distributed through the ranking system with the top level team keeping all points awarded for their first year and 50% of their points from any wins the previous season. Junior team numbers are factored in at 50% of their awarded points for the current season and 25% from the previous year. All other wins below juniors receive 25% of their awarded points for the current year and 12.5% for the previous year.
These rankings are different than those of the World Baseball & Softball Confederation (WBSC) which factor in international tournaments.
The last European Championship for Men’s fast pitch took place in 2016 with The Czech Republic, Demark and Belgium finishing in the top three spots.
The ESF Rankings for Men’s Softball in Europe are:
#1 Czech Republic
#3 The Netherlands
#5 Great Britain
There was a bit of movement from last year’s rankings where Great Britain was ranked 4th and Israel was #6.
This year the Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain and Turkey all participated in the WBSC supported tournament the Men’s World Softball Championship. They finished the tournament in the exact order of their rankings within the WBSC despite Great Britain arriving as the European favorite.
In the WBSC Rankings the European teams fell in line a little differently at the end of the 2017 season:
#8 Czech Republic
#10 Great Britain
#16 The Netherlands
All remaining teams are not ranked in world play at the moment.
This year the Women’s European Championship finished with The Netherlands, Italy and Great Britain in the top three. For folks familiar with the history of the European Championship in women’s softball, this is no surprise.
In the women’s game the teams fall into line as follows:
#2 Czech Republic
#3 Great Britain
#4 The Netherlands
This season Italy and the Czech Republic, as well as Great Britain and Russia, swapped spots. Germany and Spain stayed put while the remaining three teams shuffled quite a bit. Greece rose from #13, Austria dropped from #8 and France managed to leap frog them a spot and land at #9.
On the WBSC side, the women’s game shakes out a little differently:
#8 The Netherlands
#13 Czech Republic
#14 Great Britain
Rankings are always subject to participation though so never be fooled by the numbers. Many smaller countries have strong teams but simply do not have the budget, or the right contact person with language skills, to send teams to events that would put them in consideration for ranked spots. The ESF is working hard to grow participation from all countries by offering assistance with registration processes, coaches training and more through their development offices.