It's a story of an underdog team turned podium finishers.

Last year, Tauranga City Baseball's Under-13 team ended in last place at the United Airlines Ripken Championship in Auckland. Fast forward to last weekend and the hard-working Tauranga Tide finished in third place.

Coach James Devine believes the team's extraordinary result is thanks to the boys' hard work, communication and support of one another.

"I told them, 'if you give me 110 per cent and we lose then I'm happy.' In the end, they hustled, they batted and pitched well, and they gave 110 per cent."


The coach also learned much from past competitions and spent time realigning their strategy. In the end, it paid off.

The Bay of Plenty team won against Counties Red in round one and then faced a doubleheader the next day. They played their second game of the tournament against North Shore City in a close match-up against strong competition before losing by just one point.

Tauranga moved on to the quarter-finals against Central City and took the game 6-4.

Club president and team manager Shane Woolley could not have been more pleased with their progress.

"It is a huge credit to coach James and the way he coached the team over the season, bringing it all together for the tournament. I am really proud of how well composed the boys were for the games," he said.

Families, friends and fans were able to watch the thirteen teams in action live on Facebook and the playoffs on Sky TV. Tauranga's talented team fought hard in the semifinals but lost to Hutt Valley and then went on to battle the Orewa Sharks for the bronze statue.

The Tide came back from an early deficit and by the bottom of the third innings were well ahead 21-5. After an hour and 45 minutes at play, the game was called and Tauranga had finished it off with a 23-9 win.

Pitchers Hapene Kumeroa (a pick up/stand-in player from Christchurch) and John Heo were standout players.

"We would have been happy with just being in the top five or six, but to go almost to the finals was mindblowing," Devine said.

"We were over the moon. When we won everyone was jumping up and down and hooting and hollering. Someone needed to pull us down from the clouds."

Tauranga City Baseball celebrated a second time over the weekend as one of their own was selected to play on the NZ All Star Team at the Ripken World Series in the United States.

Following the championship and trials around the country, Baseball New Zealand's national selection panel named the roster to compete at the 2018 Cal Ripken World Series in Branson, Missouri with Tauranga Tide player Luke Devine making the prestigious list.

Devine, a 12-year-old student at Mount Intermediate, believes his inclusion in the travelling team is due in part to his focus, hustle and his eagerness to play.

"I'm proud of myself. I've only played baseball for three seasons. I'm looking forward to the experience of playing other American teams that have been playing for a while to see what it's like to play harder teams."

Devine will head to America in July alongside 14 other players for the Ripken World Series which runs from August 3-10. It is the fifth time a New Zealand All Star team will attend the highly-regarded tournament.