United Airlines National U13 Ripken Tournament Finale to be Broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport
- Published on Thursday, 09 March 2017 13:43
- Written by Ian McDonald
The nation’s best and brightest young baseball players will be showcasing their world class talent live on SKY Sport this April when both the championship final and third place play-off games at this years United Airlines National U13 Ripken tournament will be shown live on New Zealand’s premium sports television channel SKY Sport.
With the tournament posing as the main trial for national All Star U13 team selection and a trip to the Ripken World Series in Missouri in August at stake, the April 9th doubleheader featuring upwards of 12 club teams from across the country, it is shaping as the most important youth baseball showcase in the sport’s history.
“This is a such a positive development for the sport of baseball,” says Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn, who stressed that the focus for baseball is the country’s youngest ballplayers. “The country will have a unique opportunity to watch the best young players in the country competing not only for the championship, but also places in the National U13 All Star team that will travel to the United States in August for the prestigious Cal Ripken World Series, where last year we beat baseball powers Australia and Canada, and nearly took down eventual champion Japan, too.”
The Ripken World Series has a new home this year, having moved from its Aberdeen, Maryland base to a brand new facility in Branson, Missouri, and Flynn says the program’s coaches are excited to see more teams and players than ever participate in what is arguably the most important domestic event on baseball’s calendar. “We have played in three of these tournaments now and all players coming to this national tournament will have a chance to make the cut for the fifteen roster spots,” said Flynn, who added that many of the players from Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and even Auckland will be seen by national talent selectors for the first time due to the sport’s impressive and continued growth.
“Having the final day of this tournament televised on SKY TV will also put our sport in the shop window and show hundreds of thousands of young boys and girls they can go somewhere with baseball at an age that most sports do not have such huge international opportunities,” said Flynn, adding that a number of the alumni from the country’s first trip to the Ripken World Series are now being scouted by US colleges and professional scouts.
The United Airlines National U13 Ripken tournament runs for four days from the 6th to the 9th of April at Rosedale Park and with 12 club teams from across the nation expected to compete, along with pick-up Kiwi ballplayers from Australia and elsewhere, the tournament will come to an exciting conclusion on the championship finals day, with the preceding three days featuring night games for the first time in Rosedale.
April 9, SKY Sport 1
Third place play-off: 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Final: 2.30pm – 5.00pm