Baseball New Zealand’s national selectors have finalized their 20-man roster for next week’s Baseball Confederation of Oceania U15 tournament, with the inclusion of three Howick-Pakuranga players.
Under the guidance of former San Diego Padres and New Zealand Diamondblacks pitcher Riki Paewai, the New Zealand Under-15 team will play the role of host to Australia, New Caledonia and Fiji in next week’s tournament to be held at Lloyd Elsmore.
The tournament is a qualifier for the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Cup in Panama later this year.
“We’ve had a very long selection and trial process, so I believe we have assembled a squad capable of challenging for the title next week,” said Paewai.
“We have a great mix of youth and experience, with over half the squad having played at national level through the Ripken (U13) team.
“We (the selection panel) made sure all players who took the field during the recent Goodwill Series got plenty of action to not only prove themselves, but also to ensure they were ‘game ready’ for this very important tournament,” he said.
At least three Major League Baseball scouts are expected to attend the Oceania Championships.
Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn said U15 is an important age group for the sport.
“Scouts and college coaches begin to project young players at this age grade, and we’re starting to see a nice core group of players whose first sport is baseball come together in this country,” said Flynn, adding that he is hopeful of a strong performance from this group.
New Zealand has competed in the last two U15 World Championship events in Mexico in 2014 and Japan in 2016.
Following trials in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, an extended squad was named by national coaches, and trimmed down to 38 prior to last week’s series against an American Goodwill team in Auckland before the final roster was named on Saturday.
The team assembled on Thursday 11 January for camp before breaking on Saturday for the ABA All Star Game in Hamilton, and the team will stay in camp till the end of the tournament on 21 January at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga for their final training camp. The tournament begins at 10.00am on Thursday 18 January and will be live streamed by Baseball New Zealand and its partners.
New Zealand U15 Team
Angus King Sydney, Australia
Ayden Kahu-Hammond Porirua Bombers, Wellington
Caelan Hetaraka Orewa Sharks, Auckland
Chayton Krauss Pennsylvania, USA
Christos Lyberopoulos Sydney, Australia
Ciaran Bolger PK Pirates, Wellington
Cooper Grant Nelson Heat
Harrison Lough North Shore City, Auckland
Jacob Davidson Selwyn Baseball, Christchurch
Keanu Cowley Sydney, Australia
Liam Krauss Pennsylvania, USA
Noah-Sea Nui Porirua Bombers, Wellington
Oly Collier Bayside-Westhaven, Auckland
Pharell Peni Melbourne, Australia
Rikihana Love Porirua Bombers, Wellington
Taylor Irwin Counties Baseball, Auckland
Traye Wildbore Howick-Pakuranga, Auckland
Tui Amosa Howick-Pakuranga, Auckland
Tane Mumu Hutt Valley Hornets, Wellington
Zaid Flynn Orewa Sharks, Auckland
Ingram Leger Bayside-Westhaven, Auckland
Reegan Lawton Nelson Heat
Jahquai Armstrong-Briggs Hamilton Raiders
Hiroki Yasue North Shore City, Auckland
Eli Lesoa Howick-Pakuranga, Auckland
Zach Dawson Orewa Sharks, Auckland
Head Coach – Riki Paewai
Pitching Coach – D J Carrasco
Asst Coach – Kris Richards
Asst Coach – Dan Tan
Asst Coach – Jonathon Southey