There will be plenty of support for the Black Sox softball team member coming from Horowhenua as they chase a World title in Prague this year.

Reilly Makea, who has strong family ties to the Horowhenua, is the youngest player named in the Black Sox squad to contest the World Cup in Prague in June.

The 19 year old was born and bred in Levin and lived in the town until he was three before his parents Thomas and Kara Makea moved to Wellington. He has extended family still living in Levin.

The Black Sox will be chasing their eighth world title at Prague. Makea was just 13 when the Black Sox won the World title in 2013 at North Harbour, and was the Black Sox bat boy at the event.

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Levin man Mua Matakatea with his grandsons Dante and Riley - both highly promising players on the New Zealand scene.
Levin man Mua Matakatea with his grandsons Dante and Riley - both highly promising players on the New Zealand scene.

His selection for the World Cup squad comes as no surprise though, as he was one of the most promising young players in the country.

Makea is the first player to do back-to-back tours with the Junior Black Sox and the Black Sox in the same season. He made his debut for the Black Sox at the Intercontinental Cup in Prague last year, so is no stranger to the city.

Reilly has already attended two Junior Men's World Championships winning a silver medal at Midland, Michigan, in 2016, and finishing with a bronze at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 2018. Both of his Junior Black Sox campaigns were coached by his father Thomas.

Makea was named top batter at the Men's Open Club Championships last month for Poneke-Kilbirnie with a average of .480, and was awarded top pitcher and MVP at the NZ U23 Tournament in January this year. Results like this at such a young age solidified his selection for the Black Sox.

The softball blood runs deep. Older brother Dantē is also a brilliant player and has twice represented New Zealand in Junior Black Sox sides in Whitehorse, Yukon 2014 and captained the 2016 team in Midland, Michigan. Dante has also played for the NZ U23 Major Sox in Australia in 2018.

Dad Thomas Makea was a legend of world softball, with four world titles on the shelf.

Makea also played at second five-eighth for the Horowhenua-Kāpiti NPC rugby team for one season from the Levin Wanderers club during the softball off-season.

Nathan Nukunuku, 38, confirmed as the Black Sox captain to defend their title in Prague, is also chasing another record as no player had previously won five world titles.

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Sorenson, Makea, Martin and Rona had all won four. Nukunuku first played for the Black Sox in 1999, and won World Championships in 2000, 2004, 2013, 2017.

Three Enoka brothers, Ben, Thomas and Campbell (Ngāpuhi) have again been selected alongside catcher cousin Kallan Compain.

The full Black Sox squad to compete in Prague: Pitchers: Nik Hayes, Daniel Chapman, Josh Pettett. Catchers: Zane van Lieshout, Kallan Compain. Infielders: Nathan Nukunuku (captain), Jerome Raemaki, Joel Evans, Cole Evans, Tyron Bartorillo, Josh Harbrow. Outfielders: Ben Enoka, Campbell Enoka, Thomas Enoka, Reilly Makea, Wayne Laulu, Jackson Watt. Head coach: Mark Sorenson.