US base­ball manager vis­its col­lege

Central Leader - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

To most Ki­wis the name Ron Roenicke wouldn’t ring any bells.

To the base­ball play­ers at One Tree Hill Col­lege it was an hon­our hav­ing him come to visit.

Roenicke is manager of the ma­jor league base­ball team the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers and is trav­el­ling around New Zealand help­ing to en­tice even more play­ers into one of the fastest grow­ing sports in the coun­try.

‘‘I think it’s ex­cit­ing to see a coun­try that’s in­ter­ested in base­ball and giv­ing the great ath­letes you have here an op­tion with what sports they play,’’ Roenicke says.

‘‘There is some tal­ent here, there are some re­ally good ath­letes with strong, quick, pow­er­ful swings.’’

Roenicke had an eight-year play­ing ca­reer with six dif­fer­ent teams, the high­light be­ing two ap­pear­ances for the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Se­ries.

He then turned to coach­ing and was part of the Los An­ge­les An­gels coach­ing staff when that team won the 2002 World Se­ries.

One Tree Hill Col­lege has won the na­tional sec­ondary schools base­ball ti­tle two years in a row and are hop­ing to make it a three-peat at this year’s tour­na­ment.

Coach Cola Yeh says op­por­tu­ni­ties to get ad­vice from Ma­jor League play­ers and coaches don’t come around of­ten.

‘‘It’s very im­por­tant hav­ing peo­ple like Ron visit.

‘‘We are not a base­ball coun­try. So to have a pro­fes- sional coach come here, it’s great. We talk to the kids and tell them that this is a spe­cial mo­ment.’’

Roenicke spoke to the play­ers and watched them in the bat­ting cages, be­fore cast­ing his eye over a game be­tween One Tree Hill play­ers.

‘‘We are in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate for this to hap­pen, kids in the United States would never get some­thing like this be­cause the man­agers are so busy,’’ direc­tor of sport Brian Faunt says.

At­tract­ing peo­ple like Roenicke is a coup for Base­ball New Zealand and shows how far the sport has come in New Zealand.

‘‘Hav­ing a ma­jor league manager with the pedi­gree that Ron Roenicke has, is a huge boost for the sport in this coun­try,’’ Base­ball New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Flynn says.

Pho­tos: BEN ROGERS

The crew: The One Tree Hill Col­lege di­a­mond sports play­ers with Ron Roenicke, cen­tre.

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