Three locals in national squad
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