Baseball: Kiwi catcher racks up frequent flier miles

'Have gear bag, will travel' is the baseball motto of young New Zealand Diamondblacks catcher Connar O'Gorman who has played baseball across the globe over the past nine months.

The Gold Coast-based player was all set to turn out for the Counties (Manakau) team as a pick-up player during last April's New Zealand Men's Open Championship, when he suddenly got the call to head to Germany to play for the Hamburg Stealers in the Bundesliga, a competition fellow Diamondblack Daniel Lamb-Hunt has been playing in for the past four years.

"It all happened really quickly and while it was disappointing to not get to play in Auckland (for Counties), it was pretty hard to turn down an offer to play in Europe," says O'Gorman. "It's a pretty good standard in Germany and I had a good time despite being let go by the Stealers, but it was good to get picked up straight away by the Degendorf Dragons.

"Playing in Europe was a different experience, and it was a little more relaxed than in other places I've played," said O'Gorman, who also featured for the Adelaide Bite in this season's recently completed Australian Baseball League, finishing as runners up behind the champion Brisbane Bandits.

"Yes it was pretty disappointing losing the championship series, but that is all behind me now as we get ready for the World Baseball Classic."

"Having already represented New Zealand at the 21U Baseball World Cup in Taichung, I'm over the moon to get a chance to play for the senior team, and it's great having Woody (Manager Chris Woodward) and Bardo (Hitting Coach Josh Bard) back too as they're great coaches and really know their stuff."

O'Gorman can't really believe the coaching staff that Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn managed to put together, saying that "it's unbelievable that we get to learn and be coached by guys that have so much experience at the very top level and we as players really need to work hard to put what they're telling us into practice."

"It'll be tough this week, but I honestly believe we have the roster that can win this," said O'Gorman. "We're the only ones that can do this as none of the other three teams are going to do us any favours."

- NZ Herald

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