The old heads looked at each other and nodded, knowing it was a step in the right direction.
Black Sox legends Thomas Makea and Jarrod Martin had just seen their latest intake of future softball stars easily put paid to Denmark, their final warm-up match before they take on the World Series at Palmerston North.
But it is just a step. The nature of international softball at under-18 level means that most of the top 12 teams in the world could beat the other on any given day.
The nod between Makea and Martin said they knew there was still a mountain to climb, and waiting for them could be their nemesis, Japan.
Ranked number one in the World, Japan are the reigning champions and have beaten the Junior Black Sox in their last four encounters. They are the team to beat.
Makea said the Denmark game was an ideal build-up and they are looking for the chance to play a World Series on home soil.
"It's been a good chance to iron out a few things," he said.
Meanwhile, Makea said they had originally started with a squad of 40 young players and had worked hard at spreading the net wide, with an even spread of players from around the country, even tracking down promising pitcher Brandon Bristow, based in Australia.
Martin, who was in the last junior Black Sox team to win a World Series in 1989, said the current squad was full of promising players that had the potential with hard work to go on to big things.
"You can't take shortcuts. It takes hard work and we try to instil that in these young men. It's at an international level now," he said.
"We've always been there or thereabouts and have been on the podium the last three campaigns and have been proud of what we have achieved."
It was fortuitous that New Zealand softball had greats of the game so willing to give back to their sport. Makea is head coach, Martin his assistant, while batting coach is Bevan Martene.
Junior Black Sox manager Wayne Small said he remembered the day when Makea and Martin were asked if they could coach the Junior Black Sox, soon after the 2013 World Series triumph.
Legends of the game, straight away Makea and Martin said "yes" and has been with the team ever since, he said.
"These guys aren't paid."
A coup for softball is that many of the World Series games were to be televised on Sky Sport.