Tawa mates cho­sen for Ju­nior Black Sox


They’ve known each other since child­hood, but po­ten­tial awk­ward­ness was on the radar when the mem­bers of the Ju­nior Black Sox were called ear­lier this month.

Sam Mar­ley and Zac Boyd, both 17, who live in Tawa, each re­ceived the phone call they’d been hop­ing for from Ju­nior Black Sox head coach Thomas Makea on Fe­bru­ary 2. They will travel to Michi­gan, USA, in July to con­test the un­der-19 men’s world cham­pi­onship.

Boyd, an in­fielder, was told to keep his news quiet un­til an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment was made by Soft­ball New Zealand.

He feared a few play­ers he knew well wouldn’t make the 17-strong squad, pos­si­bly in­clud­ing Mar­ley, who lives across the val­ley and who he has known since he was 5.

‘‘You never know. I was con­fi­dent for both of us, but it could’ve been awk­ward,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a very cool feel­ing to make the team with Sam.’’

Mar­ley, a pitcher, said he and his Porirua City United team­mate owed a lot to the club for their soft­ball progress.

His fit­ness and acu­men on the field had im­proved greatly in the past 12 months, he said.

‘‘Just be­ing with PCU and play­ing premier 1 has helped – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.’’

Mar­ley has put po­ten­tial univer­sity stud­ies on hold to rep­re­sent New Zealand this year, be­cause there are fundrais­ing, tour­na­ments in Fe­bru­ary and March, and train­ing camps – in­clud­ing one with a mil­i­tary theme in Waiouru – to at­tend.

He said if the Ju­nior Black Sox clicked, they could shine at the world champs. In Canada, in 2014, the New Zealan­ders went down to Ar­gentina in the fi­nal, and it is ex­pected the South Amer­i­can side will be the team to beat again.

‘‘Most of us [Ju­nior Black Sox] know each other well as we’ve been com­ing up against each other for years, so we’ll be ready in July,’’ Mar­ley said.

Boyd went to Canada two years ago as a spec­ta­tor, and said the cal­i­bre of teams was im­pres­sive.

In the short term, Boyd and Mar­ley will be turn­ing their en­ergy to club play for United, who are in strong po­si­tions head­ing into play­offs for the Welling­ton and in­ter­city com­pe­ti­tions.


Ju­nior Black Sox play­ers Sam Mar­ley, left, and Zac Boyd heaped praise on Porirua City United for help­ing with their de­vel­op­ment.

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