Australian Baseball League could include NZ team

By James Perry

Speculation has increased that a New Zealand based team could be included in the Australian Baseball League. 

The National U19 baseball tournament got underway in Auckland yesterday. But what is appearing on the horizon is also at the forefront of the minds of some of the players.

Howick/Pakuranga Hawks player Tukuteihu Repia says, "Start with the Australian Baseball League(ABL). We're having a team in like a year or two, so that will be good. And to get through that I want to get to the Majors after that."

Riki Paewai of Baseball New Zealand says, "We could see a NZ team in the ABL as early as this season. And once that happens the young players development will come on quickly, and realise their dreams sooner rather than later."

"The thing with baseball, it's one of those games where you have to play every day, every day to get better."

The big competitions around the world play upwards of 150 games a season, and Paewai believes playing in the ABL will help the players get use to the gruelling schedule, adding "Once they start playing everyday, once we know they're going to play for us then we can get them some constant line of baseball. Then they're really going to shoot to the top".

Besides the ABL, the college system in the USA is another pathway that allows the development of NZ Baseball players. There are currently around 20 New Zealanders in the US on baseball scholarships.

And that is something that young Bayside player Ayden Hammond is well aware of, and has his sights set on achieving. 

"In the future I'm hoping to get a scholarship to the States and stuff like that. And play as high a Baseball as I can" he said.

For the players fighting it out for national supremacy, the future is in reach and is getting even closer.