Several aspiring Northland baseballers are making their mark at national level, and a surge of youth interest in the sport could lead to more players joining them.
Aotea Parata, Tahu Tawhiwhirangi [Te Kāpehu Whetū students] and Xander King have continued soaring in the sport and, with the backing of Baseball Northland, will play for North Shore to further their progression.
Despite a lingering threat of losing them to other regions, Northland Baseball president Edward Irving is confident the boys will bring back what they have learned to Northland’s under-13 and secondary school representative teams.
“Our ultimate goal is to have strong under-15s and under-18s teams that we take to Auckland to play in their competition and, hopefully, take the title in two to three years.
“We have had two players get into the New Zealand Under-16 representative team and Aotea Parata made the cut to travel to South America,” he said.
“Our failure unfortunately is always funding and player depth … we will be pushing for a smart business owner to see value in potentially having three NZ rep players under their business brand in 2016.”
Irving said it was often hard to get players ahead of other sporting codes.
“I see this amazing depth from 12-16 years of age that would be great at baseball but they get grabbed by touch [rugby], but this season I will just need to get to them a bit quicker than Te Tai Tokerau Touch’s Joe Rau.”
Northland Baseball is looking to take the sport back to the schools, with a proposed intermediate and high school tournament to end with two trial teams selected to make a team of 12 players to travel to the New Zealand Nationals in April, 2016.
The season starts this week for all primary school age groups and then into intermediate schools in term four. To enquire with Northland Baseball, contact 021 189 0098.
Originally published in the Northern Advocate, November 4, 2015
Photo: Tahu Tawhiwhirangi (left) and Aotea Parata will play for North Shore. (Supplied)