Māori boys stand out at NZ U18 Baseball final

By Wikitōria Day

Two young Māori boys shined in the grand final of the NZ U18 Baseball final.  

Dante Matakatea came all the way from Wellington to play for Auckland Central, including Jason Matthews who stood strong for his team.

With the duo displaying standout performances, they have now made national squads and are expected to head overseas in the coming months.

It was a hard fought match.  North Shore proved too strong for the Auckland based team and came away with the win.

Jason Matthews says, "I wanted to come away with the win because this club hasn't won a grand final yet. They've made it to a grand final but lost."

Dante's passion is in fact softball, but when he got the call from his mates to come up to the big smoke, he was quick to reply.

"The softball season has finished. You get pretty bored not swinging a bat or anything so might as well just come up here," says Dante Matakātea.

Matthews skills are obvious, and that's exactly what scouts think.  He's one of the few who have been selected to go to the Netherlands in August for a baseball academy.  

Jason says, "It'll help me heaps. I need to experience it because I want to try and make it into the Majors or the Minors."

Dante says, "Jason, yes he's doing pretty well in softball and to see him come here and he's looking like he's the next thing."

Dante is also a high achiever. He was recently named in the Junior Black Sox team that will travel to Prague to compete.

He says, "It's an honour, especially not only to put the black jersey on but to be coached by Black Sox greats."

It's a bright future ahead for these two prospects, who will soon have the opportunity to showcase their talent to the world.