The pathway to success has its share of potholes and tight corners to negotiate.

But those who persevere and are not afraid to stray on alternate routes will no doubt reach their destination with a sense of purpose.

Callum Lewis-Carson belongs to that train of thought.

The 17-year-old jetted off to Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday as part of the 18-member Temperzone New Zealand Junior Black Sox team.


Lewis-Carson and his teammates will compete at the week-long European Men's Super Cup from Monday in Softball NZ's bid to nurture talent on an international platform.

The trip is part of a template towards bolstering the Thomas Makea-coached Junior Black Sox heading to the ISF World Junior Men's Championship in Midland, Michigan, in the United States, next year.

"It hasn't been that strong here [for a few years]," says the Napier Boys' High School pupil of the club matches in Hawke's Bay.

Lewis-Carson, who has been a member of the Maraenui Pumas team since he was 12 years old, last season travelled fortnightly with the composite Vikings senior men's team from the Bay on Sundays to enter the fray of the Wellington softball scene.

The team did not do so well there but Lewis-Carson has noticed incremental gains in his game.

"It's strong down there. They have better competition so you improve your game."

The Year 13 pupil intends to enrol at Victoria University next year to study industrial designing.

"It's another big step. I'm clued up pretty much [to go to varsity]," says Lewis-Carson, who plans to join a Wellington senior men's club but isn't sure which one just yet.

A Swiss knife in the Junior Black Sox equation, the only Bay player in next week's trip sees his versatility as an asset but is mindful game time will not be a given.

"It'll be pretty tough ... because we're all quite good," says Lewis-Carson who learned of his selection at the end of the softball season in March.

His dexterity embraces the domains of first base and outfield duties although he his partial towards the portfolio of catcher.

A batter in the middle order, Lewis-Carson last season hit eight home runs in the Bay.

"I think it's more like I'm seen as strong in most areas," he explains, revealing selectors were able to scrutinise his skills at several Bay regional representative tournaments.

Lewis-Carson was part of the New Zealand Development team (U17s) who won the friendship series tournament in Sydney last year.

"This one [Prague] will be a much tougher competition so I'll be giving it my all."

The teenager harbours hopes of playing for the Black Sox provided other life skills, such as his studies, are ticking along nicely in the next few years.

A "one-sport guy", Lewis-Carson took a shine to softball when one day his younger brother, Dailey, 11, brought a newsletter home from Henry Hill School.

"I went to an open day at Maraenui and got stuck," he says after some encouragement from parents Rick and Heni, who run their electrical business in Napier.

"Softball has a family vibe to it so it includes everyone," says Lewis-Carson, adding his mother often helps manage the Bay age-group teams he has represented.

The former junior rugby player gravitated to rugby league for Napier Technical but last season played for the Pirate Panthers.

"The competition wasn't too good here," he says, enjoying balancing his school work with softball. "It's good to have a break [with one sport] but not too much of a break."

He attributes his development and success to coach Roger Aranui.

"He's been around in the softball scene for a while so he has a lot of knowledge," says Lewis-Carson who plays alongside Aranui's three sons, player/coach Karaitiana, Tiwana and Manaaki.