NZ U12 Baseball team to take on world’s best for the first time

By Wikitōria Day
  • Auckland

Tonight the New Zealand U12 Baseball team will fly out to America for The Ripken World Championships.

Te Kāea was lucky enough to speak with some of the Māori players and the coach Riki Paewai of Rangitāne at their final training before the big expedition overseas.

It's one of the biggest youth baseball tournaments in the world for this age group and these boys are participating in the important event for the very first time.

Young baseballer, Jackson Taurarii says, "Its going to feel different just playing my first proper game of baseball, and watching a couple of games and I think it's going to be a great experience"

It is an invitation-only event that brings together young players from across the world.

New Zealand has gone from being ranked 119th in the world to 27th in the sport of baseball. Therefore, the potential within our players is being recognised.

For most of the youngsters, this will be their first time flying so far away from home. However, it's a trip that will allow them to see the world.

Coach, Riki Paewai believes "It's also an eye opener for us to say hey look we need to play baseball more often, we need to get our boys playing baseball because this is what we can do with it."

The support the kids have received from their families has allowed them to achieve their baseball dream.

No matter what the outcome of the championship, they can be proud they are representing New Zealand on a global scale.

For the full story, tune in to Te Kāea tonight at 5:30 and 7:00pm with subtitles.