Raiders add duo to roster
The Hamilton Raiders are ready to be a much stronger force in their second season of the Auckland club baseball competition, with two handy additions now completing their playing roster.
With the work of coach Richard Tuhoro the team returned after more than a decade out, to compete at the national championships last year, then went on to enter the club competition, where their inexperienced unit finished bottom of the heap.
But this year the Raiders are primed to be a far more competitive unit, with their 14-man group now sewn up, with the additions of experienced and classy duo Marko Lezaic and Jack Fletcher.
Lezaic grew up in New Zealand then went to junior college in the United States to develop his game over there for three years. He went on to play in Germany and in the Australian Baseball League, and represented New Zealand in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.
‘‘We’re very lucky to have someone of his calibre on board with us,’’ Tuhoro said of the pitcher/first baseman/third baseman, who works for the Auckland Baseball Association teaching kids ‘KiwiBall’.
The 29-year-old will bring plenty of nous to the youngsters at the Raiders, who he was keen to join after seeing them at the club nationals last year.
Lezaic will travel down for one of the three trainings a week.
Fletcher, meanwhile, is a second baseman/ shortstop, continuing in the mould of a utility option which Tuhoro is keen on having players as this year.
The 24-year-old is originally from a softball background but made the switch a while back, keen on venturing to the USA, before studying for a law degree in Wellington kept him here.
A shoulder injury while playing rugby stopped his baseball for a while, then Fletcher got back into it last season, turning out for North Shore.
Now having enrolled in a full immersion Te Reo Ma¯ori course at the University of Waikato, it has led him to the Raiders, who he says can be a big threat this year.
The Raiders’ first game of the season comes this weekend.
Jack Fletcher will be looking to make his mark with the Hamilton Raiders.
Hamilton Raiders coach Richard Tuhoro is excited for his side’s season ahead.