Some of New Zealand's top baseball prospects will get the chance to make their first step toward a career in the sport when they travel to Australia this weekend.
New Zealand under-15 representatives Mincharn Kim (North Shore City), Ciaran Bolger (PK Pirates, Wellington), Noah-Sea Nui (Porirua Bombers) and Cooper Grant (Nelson Heat) have been selected to attend a Major League Baseball showcase on the Gold Coast from Sunday to Thursday where MLB, Baseball Australia and Baseball New Zealand will be looking to identify the next big thing.
The learning opportunities and pathways for young Kiwi baseball players are steadily expanding across the globe. This year, more than 18 New Zealanders are plying their trade abroad either professionally or at the collegiate level.
"These young men have worked tirelessly on the diamond and off to get chances like this," Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn said. "And the likes of Mincharn, Noah, Cooper and Ciaran have put in the training time to prove to our national coaches and selectors that they have the ability to go further in the game. We are very proud of this group of young ball players."
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It could be the start of a similar journey to that of Auckland's 19-year-old pitching sensation Kyle Glogoski, who was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies late last year and has begun his journey toward the major league level.
Pitching for the GCL Phillies West in the rookie Gulf Coast League, Glogoski has impressed. The Aucklander has made 10 appearances this season, including eight starts, and has been a handful for hitters. His earned run average (ERA) is 2.31 and he holds a healthy average of strikeouts per innings pitched.
In the five matches he's pitched five innings or more, making him the pitcher of record, he's won four, with one no decision. His 4-0 record is tied for the fourth-most wins in the league.
"It's also great to see the likes of Kyle doing so well with Philadelphia Phillies rookie league team and former Alfriston College student Jason Matthews taking his baseball to the next level as he begins life at NCAA division one school University of South Carolina Upstate, which unfortunately at this moment could not happen if they remained in New Zealand," Flynn said.
He was hopeful the arrival of New Zealand's first professional baseball team would help to grow the game in the country, with an Auckland-based club joining the Australian Baseball League from the 2018/19 season. Specifics about the team were set to be unveiled at an open day on Monday.