New Zealand All Star U13 Squad Chosen for Ripken World Series

Fifteen baseball players from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Kiwi ballplayers from Australia feature in the naming of the New Zealand U13 All Star team to compete at the prestigious Cal Ripken World Series (CRWS) in Branson, Missouri later this year.

This will be the fourth time New Zealand’s baseball programme has fielded an All Star team at the Ripken event, and Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn said: “This tournament is the beginning of a journey in the baseball life of some top young athletes.

“With this major international tournament on our calendar once again this year, we view 2017 as a critical year in our sport’s development in this age group in New Zealand,” said Flynn, who added that last year’s team was the most successful in the sport’s history with big wins over Canada and Australia. “The Ripken World Series is one of the largest and most important youth tournaments in any sport, outside of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball World Cup events.”

The U13 squad, is to be coached by Diamondblacks and former professional pitcher Andrew Marck, who will be assisted by Baseball New Zealand Development Officer Dan Tan, Diamondblacks and Adelaide Bite ABL catcher Connar O’Gorman and longtime Auckland-based coach Mark Irwin. Marck and his staff will finalise their preparations over the coming months with training camps and games in Auckland before the team heads to Branson in late July.

“This was a very difficult side to choose given the wide array of talent we had to select from after our National Championships,” said Andrew Marck, who was an assistant coach on last year’s team. “It’s plain to see there has been huge growth in the sport over the last few years, with 13 teams playing at nationals, it was a far harder job for our coaching group to come up with a final roster and some very difficult decisions needed to be made.

“I’ve selected many teams before in baseball, but putting this roster together was the hardest to choose,” said Marck, who said that New Zealand could now put together more than one talented team at this age grade. “There were certainly some long conversations around players between the four of us (selectors).”

The Cal Ripken World Series  will be hosted in Branson for the first time after the tournament moved from its original home in Aberdeen, Maryland, and it will run from the 3rd to the 10th of August. The tournament is the showcase tournament and the focal point of the Cal Ripken Major/70 division of the Babe Ruth League.

Each year in August, ten teams from across the US join six top teams from around the world in a tournament to crown a single world champion, and New Zealand have the great honour of joining the field for the fourth time at this prestigious tournament.

A further group of 15-20 players will also be named in the coming months to a U13 Development group that will play a number of games overseas later this year, and hopefully against visiting international teams, according to Flynn.

New Zealand U13 All-Star Ripken Team

Name

Club/Location

Arene Landon-Lane

Bombers, Wellington

Brooklyn Te Kawa

Counties

Bunji Nakao

North Shore

Ciaran Bolger

Wellington

Damian Feagaiga

Redcliffe, Brisbane

Eli Lesoa

Howick - Pakuranga

Hunter Southey

Howick - Pakuranga

Ingram Leger

Bayside

Josh Kennedy

Hornets, Wellington

Mincharn Kim

North Shore

Nathan Howarth

Cronulla, Sydney

Nikau Pouaka-Grego

Christchurch Redbirds

Shiloh Rice

Bayside

Zach Dawson

Orewa

Zahr Shaw-Wallace

Hornets, Wellington

 

Non-Travelling Reserves:

Campbell Puaha                     Counties

 

Daniel Brodrick                      Counties

 

Jacob Wildbore                       Howick-Pakuranga

 

Karim Crawford                     Hawkes Bay

 

Mia Boaler                             North Shore

 

Noah Nui                                Wellington

 

Owen Dabkowski                   Southern Astros

 

Paki Pouaka-Grego                Christchurch Redbirds

 

Head Coach – Andrew Marck (Howick Pakuranga)

 

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