Three lo­cals in na­tional squad

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Budding home-grown base­ball play­ers are off to make a name for them­selves over­seas.

The fi­nal New Zealand squads have been named for the un­der-12 and un­der-15 world tour­na­ments this year.

It is the first time New Zealand has fielded a team at any In­ter­na­tional Base­ball Fed­er­a­tion (IBAF) World Cham­pi­onship event.

And three play­ers from Cen­tral City Base­ball Club, in Mt Roskill, are head­ing away with the teams.

The un­der-15 team in­cludes Cen­tral’s Ayr­ton Laird and Cameron Sut­ton while Cen­tral’s Do­minic El­liott will be play­ing in the un­der-12 side.

Base­ball NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Flynn says 2014 is a crit­i­cal year in the de­vel­op­ment of base­ball in New Zealand.

‘‘This is a time for our play­ers to re­ally get no­ticed on the world stage, as scouts from pro­fes­sional and col­lege base­ball will be watch­ing this age grade care­fully.’’

The un­der-12 squad is head­ing to the Cal Rip­ken World Se­ries in Aberdeen, Mary­land, US, in Au­gust to com­pete against some of the best young play­ers from around the world.

The un­der-15 squad is head­ing to their top tour­na­ment, the IBAF World Cham­pi­onships, in Mex­ico from July 31 to Au­gust 1.

Na­tional un­der-15 coach Jamie Wil­son is ex­cited about the prospect of guid­ing the side at the tour­na­ment.

‘‘The world champ qual­i­fi­ca­tion is huge for Base­ball NZ and, in par­tic­u­lar, youth base­ball.

‘‘There is no higher level for this age group.’’

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz to see a video of the New Zealand v Thai­land game in the World Base­ball Clas­sic qual­i­fier

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