Baseball New Zealand Announce DiamondBlacks Roster for the 2022 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

Baseball New Zealand are proud to announce the twenty-eight players selected for the DiamondBlacks, who will compete in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) Qualifiers held in Panama City, Panama, from September 30th – October 5th.


Infielders - Ayrton Laird, Chayton Krauss, Daniel Lamb-Hunt, Duncan Izaaks, Jason Matthews, Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Sam Kennelly


Outfielders - Andrew Marck, Kane Swanson, Kris Richards, Max Brown


Catchers - Connar O'Gorman, Beau Bishop, Faenza Bishop


Pitchers - Ben Thompson, Charlie Adamson, Connor Gleeson, Elliot Johnstone, Eugene Gay, Jimmy Boyce, Maclain Roberts, Mitchell Hughson, Nao Fukuda, Ryan Sanders, Ryota Okumoto, Todd Hatcher, Yuuki Takahashi, Zaid Flynn


The Diamondblacks are headlined by three current minor leaguers, with Elliot Johnstone (NYM), Jason Matthews (CWS), and Nikau Pouaka-Grego (PHI) all expected to be major contributors during the qualifying campaign. The team is also bolstered by six players who have previously spent time with MLB affiliates with Beau Bishop (BOS & MIL), Max Brown (ARI), Sam Kennelly (PIT), Daniel Lamb-Hunt (ATL), Kris Richards (BAL) and Ben Thompson (ATL) all bringing valuable professional experience to the roster.


Manager Scott Campbell is excited by the group’s potential, with the experienced line-up balanced out by an exciting young pitching staff led by Diamondblacks veterans Ben Thompson and Jimmy Boyce. The Diamondblacks have spent the last week preparing in Arizona, with the coaching staff using games against the Kansas City Royals instructional team and Gateway College to evaluate the roster before their first game against Brazil on September 30th in Panama.


The upcoming tournament will be familiar territory for some, with Max Brown, Te Wera Bishop, Daniel Lamb-Hunt, and Andrew Marck returning for their third World Baseball Classic qualifiers after being members of the 2012 and 2016 squads, which travelled to Taipei and Sydney respectively.


The introduction of the Auckland Tuatara franchise in 2018 is paying dividends for Baseball New Zealand, with seventeen of the players included in the roster having been involved in the Tuatara set-up during their first two seasons, and a strong WBC performance will likely lead to this number growing during the 22/23 ABL season.


The Diamondblacks have completed their warm-up tour in Arizona after spending the last three days being generously hosted by the San Diego Padres and will depart to Panama on September 27th. The Diamondblacks first game is against Brazil at Rod Carew National Stadium, with all games throughout the tournament live streamed for free on Youtube & MLB.TV. First pitch against Brazil is scheduled for 7am, October 1st NZT.


Article added: Tuesday 27 September 2022

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