Um­pire picked for Mex­ico

Central Leader - - SPORT -

Our top base­ball um­pire is head­ing to Mex­ico to make his­tory next month.

Auck­land-based um­pire War­ren van Rooyen has been cho­sen by the In­ter­na­tional Base­ball Fed­er­a­tion to take charge at the un­der15 Base­ball World Cup this year.

It is the first time a Kiwi has ever of­fi­ci­ated a world base­ball cham­pi­onship.

Van Rooyen is the di­rec­tor of um­pir­ing for Base­ball New Zealand and says his se­lec­tion will show young New Zealand um­pires what is avail­able in the sport for those who put in the time and ef­fort.

‘‘This is a tremen­dous hon­our for not only my­self, but for our na­tion’s um­pires and grow­ing pro­gramme.

‘‘We are on the verge of build­ing a world-class base­ball or­gan­i­sa­tion in New Zealand, and we have a grow­ing group of tal­ented um­pires com­ing up through the ranks.’’

The un­der-15 Base­ball World Cup was launched in 2012 and is played ev­ery two years. This year it will be held from July 31 to Au­gust 10 in Mex­ico.

The New Zealand side have pulled a tough draw which in­cludes the com­pe­ti­tion’s top two seeds, the United States and Ja­pan.

Base­ball New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Flynn says it is a big tour­na­ment for New Zealand.

It is the first time New Zealand has fielded a team at any world base­ball cham­pi­onship.

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

World Base­ball Soft­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Ric­cardo Frac­cari says es­tab­lish­ing youth plat­forms such as the un­der-15 world cup is an in­te­gral part of the sport’s growth.

‘‘The global spread and strength of the coun­tries in the 2014 un­der15 Base­ball World Cup will cre­ate a truly unique at­mos­phere and gen­er­ate great ex­cite­ment for the ath­letes, as they come from all around the world to share their tal­ents and ad­mire each other on the in­ter­na­tional stage and shine on it,’’ Frac­cari says.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Good call: War­ren van Rooyen, left, and fel­low um­pire John Steph­ney dis­cuss a call.

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