The New Zealand Under-13 baseball team are off to "E 2017 Cal Ripken World Series", in the USA next month. Captain Nikau Pouaka-Grego believes this side can go a long way.
With all the preparations set, the team are ready to take on the cream of the crop in Baseball
Assistant coach Daniel Tan says, “We got a good squad. We got a couple of returners.”
Captain Nikau Pouaka-Grego says, “I reckon this is one of our strongest teams we've had so far."
Tan believes that Pouaka-Grego’s experience will lift the team when they head out to the brand new Ballparks of America facility in Branson, Missouri, USA.
“He's got a very good swing, plus good hand eye coordination, and he's just a competitor.”
National Development Officer Riki Paewai was on board to go through haka practice with the squad. Paewai is a stalwart and former Diamond Black representative who was more than happy to share his knowledge of the pre-match ritual.
Pouaka-Grego says, “It's an honour to lead the haka for my country. I lead it last year.”
Noah-Seā Nui, who plays for the Porirua Bombers will be making his debut in the USA. The Wellingtonian was called up as a late replacement after a withdrawal. His excitement obvious after his first hit-out with the team.
“I was all ready to say thank you for choosing me [as a travelling reserve] because I thought that I wasn't gonna make it. But then when I got the call-up, I was all excited."
The team will face the best teams from each US region and a few international squads. There is one opponent that the Kiwi’s would love to beat.
Pouaka-Grego says, “Well hopefully beating Australia if we come up against them because we've beaten them two years in a row.”
With all bases covered, it's now up to the boys to bring it in the USA.