Monday, May 20, 2024

Local baseballers heading for Major League

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Two of New Zealand’s top baseball pitching prospects have been named to the Major League Baseball (MLB) World team to play at the leading showcase tournament in the United States, in front of hundreds of college and professional scouts.

New Zealand Diamondblacks pitcher Kyle Glogoski (Howick College) will be joined by Elliot Johnstone (Sacred Heart College) on the MLB World team alongside players from Australia, South Africa, China, Brazil and Europe for exhibition games in Memphis, before heading to Arizona for the Fall Classic.

Elliot Johnstone. Photo supplied

Howick-Pakuranga pitcher Elliot Johnstone, who was a late addition to the team, is excited at the prospect of returning to Arizona for the second time, and that “being able to showcase my skills in front of scouts and coaches again is a huge honour.

“I’m really looking forward to working closely with the coaching staff, who will help me become a better player by fine tuning my (pitching) mechanics,” said Johnstone, who is the current Baseball New Zealand U19 Player of the Year. “Being able to play ball every day is also exciting as I will be up against some of the best players in the United States and the world so it will be a steep learning curve.”

 

Young Diamondblacks pitcher and hot MLB prospect Kyle Glogoski has already had a taste

Kyle Glogoski. Photo supplied

of high quality baseball in the United States, having played on the prestigious MLB World Select team earlier in the year, touring Major League Spring Training venues and pitching against the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees Rookie teams.

“I’m really looking forward to going to Tennessee and Arizona and catching up with some of the friends I have met and played with and against previously,” said Glogoski, adding, “I’m also looking forward to comparing myself alongside some of the top players from my age group from different countries as this year will definitely be a lot of fun as well as being a very big year for making things happen.”

This year has already been another big one for the 18-year-old pitcher who performed outstandingly for the New Zealand Diamondblacks at last February’s World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Sydney and was this year named in May as the Lincoln Holdzkom Baseball New Zealand International Player of the Year (along with Diamondblack third baseman Daniel Lamb-Hunt) after his performances in the USA for the MLB International Select Team.

Glogoski definitely sees the tournament as another step forward in his career. “It’s another chance to put myself in front of a lot of high-level coaches and scouts who can really help me improve my pitching game and take it to the next level,” he said.

The learning opportunities and pathways for the nation’s young baseball players are steadily opening up across the globe, as this year there are well over a dozen young Kiwis either playing professional or college baseball in addition to Glogoski and Johnstone, as they bid to play at the highest level in the sport.

“These young men have worked tirelessly on the diamond and off to get chances like this,” said Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn. “And Kyle and Elliot, have put in the training time to prove to our national coaches and selectors that they have the ability to go further in the game.

“Within the next two years, there will upwards of 25 to 30 young kiwi men playing collegiate or professional baseball around the world and these players must leave New Zealand to follow their dream,” said Flynn, who added that many sports “work to keep their best players in the country, whereas in a sport such as ours, for young men to take the next step and make a real go of going to college or playing professional ball, they currently must leave our shores to do so. And we’re proud of how many of our young men are doing exactly that.”

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