Ready to pitch in

Canning Gazette - - SPORT -

PERTH Heat’s new pitch­ers are hop­ing to put their American ex­pe­ri­ence to good use as they chase Aus­tralian Base­ball League (ABL) glory.

Josh Hen­drick­son and Jack­son Wark are among the new ad­di­tions to the Heat bullpen, hav­ing both spent the past few years in the US col­lege sys­tem.

Wel­lard prod­uct Hen­drick­son has taken the long route to rep­re­sent his home­town team, earn­ing a spot on the Heat ros­ter af­ter a stint with the Univer­sity of San Diego.

He has the distinc­tion of being drafted by two Ma­jor League Base­ball teams in back-to-back years af­ter being picked up in the 20th round last year by the Kansas City Roy­als, be­fore being re-drafted in the 38th round by the Philadel­phia Phillies this year.

“(Get­ting drafted) was awe­some; even if it hap­pens twice, it’s still the same feeling,” Hen­drick­son said.

“Wher­ever the Phillies put me on one of their mi­nor league teams, you have to go out and per­form and try to win. I’ve got to keep mov­ing through the mi­nor leagues and hope­fully make it to the ma­jor leagues in a few years.”

Hen­drick­son de­scribed his time state­side as “in­valu­able” and hoped his ex­pe­ri­ences would ben­e­fit the Heat.

“It was a lot of fun; I learnt a lot and got to ex­pe­ri­ence Amer­ica,” he said.

“Being around base­ball ev­ery day helped me grow as a per­son and a player.”

Wark, on the other hand, had not stepped foot in the coun­try un­til last week, hav­ing been signed af­ter four years with Saint Louis Univer­sity.

The Cana­dian said he was ex­cited to link up with his team­mates and ex­pe­ri­ence the ABL.

“I know a guy who played for Auckland last year so I had a lit­tle bit of insight,” he said. “I’ve been aware of the ABL for a while and I know it’s a ris­ing league.”

Wark was taken in the 30th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the New York Mets out of high school, but he said play­ing in the col­le­giate leagues was a valu­able learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I played col­lege ball for the last four years and I played against a lot of guys who were top prospects for the big leagues; you see some pretty good play­ers and it’s pretty com­pet­i­tive,” he said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

New Perth Heat American im­ports Josh Hen­drick­son and (in­set) Jack­son Wark. d496787

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