Māori baseball youth hopeful for college-contract

By Moana Makapelu Lee

New Zealand's finest junior baseball players are out to showcase their baseball talents at the invitational Arizona Senior and Junior Fall Classic. The 20 players are giving it their all in the hope of signing a college contract.

A once in a lifetime opportunity for Tairea Thompson and his teammates to play among the best junior baseballers. 

“Most of the players here have been playing their entire lives since they were four years old. But most of us have only been playing for two years.”

The Arizona Classic is one of the top showcase events for baseball in the USA where top players and teams compete against the best of the best in front of professional scouts and coaches.

“The games are going well. We're learning new ball skills every day. We'll be much sharper when we return home.”

A reasonably new sport in New Zealand with little funding, for these boys, their performance at the Arizona Classic could mean a college contract or a professional career in baseball.

“We all want to get a college contract or get signed to an MLB team here. That is the big dream.”

The team has one week left in Arizona to give it their all as they face off against local teams.