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.