Women's Baseball World Cup comes to Central Florida for first time

Women change the male-dominated sport

VIERA, Fla. – It's a sport that's been dominated by men since the mid-1800s -- baseball.

Known as America's national pastime, the sport will be played by women from several countries in a historical event.

"I'm here to watch the USA, and watch Cuba because my family is from Cuba," said Karen Ferrando, a baseball fan who lives in Central Florida.

The event will feature 12 teams from several countries, including team USA. The competition will be hosted in the city of Viera at the United States Specialty Sports Association Space Coast Complex.

"They're going to be very surprised with the level of play, the type of players and really just the excitement coming from the teams," USSSA International Senior Vice President D.J. Wabick said.

The Women's Baseball World Cup kicked off with team Japan versus the Dominican Republic. Japan has won five consecutive world cup championships.

"The amount of passion there is for the overall community of women's baseball is very, very large. We just have to help bring the lid off of it a little bit and I think it can very much grow in our country," said Wabick, a former professional baseball player.

The championship started in 2004 in Canada. Since then, it's been hosted in several other countries, including Taiwan, Japan, Venezuela and South Korea.

"It's a lot of fun to come out here and watch them play, regardless of sex. Good ball players are good players," Jim Catsuka said.

For some spectators, watching women take over the diamond field at the USSSA Space Coast Complex is giving them a sense of accomplishment.

"It's showed how far we've come and I'm proud of Viera for hosting it," said Bonnie Rozzo, a Viera resident.

"They are terrific. Some of these girls play better than men, and they're a lot prettier to watch," Mark Saks said.

Among the 12 teams that qualified for the eighth edition are Canada, USA, Cuba, Venezuela, Australia and Puerto Rico.

The competition is expected to boost the retail, hotel, restaurant and tourism industries in Brevard County with an estimated $7.3 million, according to Florida's Space Coast office of tourism.

There will be a total of 44 games played.

For more information on event prices and game scheduling, click here.

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