As a youngster Hawke's Bay softballer, Jovaan Hanley dreamed about playing for the world champion Black Sox.
"Now I'm living the dream and I want to keep it trucking along," Hanley said last night.
Twenty-four hours earlier Hanley, 24, and his long-time Hawke's Bay age group teammate Campbell Makea received phone calls from Black Sox coach Mark Sorenson congratulating them on their selection for the June World Championships in Canada.
"The call certainly made up for the disappointment of our fourth placing at the interclubs with Poneke Kilbirnie. Basically Mark told me to keep doing what I've been doing," Hanley said.
"It's awesome to be named alongside Campbell because we've been through so much together, including national title-winning Hastings Boys' High School teams, the national title-winning Hawke's Bay Under-19s and the 2008 Junior World Series."
An extruder operator at Alto Packaging in Hastings, Hanley, said he will put the glove and bat away for a fortnight and work on his fitness. While the power hitter has been selected as an outfielder, Hanley also has the ability to back up the pitching staff if required.
Although Makea has been in the Black Sox since 2011, this will also be his first senior World Championships. He was unlucky to miss selection for the North Harbour-hosted world champs in 2013.
"Coming back from that disappointment has made this selection that little bit extra special. I really wanted to be in that 2013 team because it was Thomas' last world series," Makea said referring to his older brother and four-time world champion Thomas Makea who is now the Junior Black Sox head coach.
Makea has been working as a physio for Rob Cashman in Wellington for the past two years.
"I'm lucky Rob was a former Black Sox physio so he's pretty understanding when I ask for time off for softball," Makea said.
Hanley and Makea will be among eight players who will be attending their first world champs with the Black Sox. Another of the new recruits is 16-year-old Junior Black Sox short stop Cole Evans, of Auckland, who will become the youngest player to represent New Zealand at a world championships since coach Sorenson won the first of his four gold medals in 1984 at 16.
Seven players remain from the 2013 team. Three-time world champion Donny Hale of Auckland and infielder Tyron Bartorillo were dropped.