'Starstruck' by Black Sox heroes

Field of dreams for young Tairawhiti players as Black Sox men’s national squad runs local clinic.

Field of dreams for young Tairawhiti players as Black Sox men’s national squad runs local clinic.

FIELD OF DREAMS: Jake Noble (right) warms up while Black Sox player Connor Peden looks on during a clinic at the Waikirikiri Park diamond yesterday. Pictures by Liam Clayton

Up-and-coming Gisborne softballers got some tips from the top from members of the Black Sox national men’s softball squad at Waikirikiri Park yesterday. Te Rangimaria Hinaki-Reihana displays her pitching action to Bayley Pearson-Hoani. Te Rangimaria admitted she was “starstruck” from meeting the internationals, who have a “longest day challenge” team-building exercise today and an intersquad practice game tomorrow.
FASTBALL: Jesse Hohepa-O'Keefe learns some techniques from Black Sox pitcher Bayley Pearson-Hoani.
STRIKE: Oscar Ruston works out his pitching arm while Black Sox player Joshua Harbrow looks on.
Black Sox player Penese Iosefo stretches with Miriama Heke. The Black Sox squad arrived in town on Thursday. A shared dinner is being held for them tonight at Te Tini o Porou and there is an intersquad practice game from 9.30 tomorrow. Black Sox manager Jayden Moore said the team were delighted to be here and praised the passion of the Tairawhiti Softball Association.

WAIKIRIKIRI Park is turning into a field of dreams for young Tairawhiti softball players. The Black Sox men’s national squad ran a clinic on Friday ahead of an intersquad game on Sunday.

The seven-time world champions, who were runners-up to Canada last year, gave glimpses of what it takes to reach the highest level — an opportunity that wasn’t lost on the aspiring players.

“I’m starstruck,” 17-year-old Te Rangimaria Hinaki-Reihana said.

“I’ve been playing softball since I was 11 and have grown up watching the Black Sox.”

The excitement on the pitch wasn’t just reserved for the young ones.

“It’s very exciting for us,” Black Sox manager Jayden Moore said. “It’s just as humbling for us, as it is for the people here.”

Moore credited the work of Tairawhiti Softball for getting the Black Sox to Gisborne.

“I knew it would be a success because of the passion of Tairawhiti Softball president Walton Walker and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti community adviser Ray Noble,” Moore said.

Eager parents watched as their children revelled in mixing it with their heroes. Leigh Pere-Campbell had two children taking part in the clinic.

“It’s overwhelming actually. It gives the kids an opportunity to see an elite level of competition,? she said.

Another parent, Clayton Kohatu, believes the benefits gained go well beyond the diamond.

“It’s great for them to play with their idols and have some banter,” he said. “It gives them some aspirations and resiliency for the world they’re entering.”

The Black Sox have a team building “longest day challenge” today and an intersquad practice game from 9.30am at Waikirikiri Park tomorrow.

The public are encouraged to head down and watch them in action.

WAIKIRIKIRI Park is turning into a field of dreams for young Tairawhiti softball players. The Black Sox men’s national squad ran a clinic on Friday ahead of an intersquad game on Sunday.

The seven-time world champions, who were runners-up to Canada last year, gave glimpses of what it takes to reach the highest level — an opportunity that wasn’t lost on the aspiring players.

“I’m starstruck,” 17-year-old Te Rangimaria Hinaki-Reihana said.

“I’ve been playing softball since I was 11 and have grown up watching the Black Sox.”

The excitement on the pitch wasn’t just reserved for the young ones.

“It’s very exciting for us,” Black Sox manager Jayden Moore said. “It’s just as humbling for us, as it is for the people here.”

Moore credited the work of Tairawhiti Softball for getting the Black Sox to Gisborne.

“I knew it would be a success because of the passion of Tairawhiti Softball president Walton Walker and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti community adviser Ray Noble,” Moore said.

Eager parents watched as their children revelled in mixing it with their heroes. Leigh Pere-Campbell had two children taking part in the clinic.

“It’s overwhelming actually. It gives the kids an opportunity to see an elite level of competition,? she said.

Another parent, Clayton Kohatu, believes the benefits gained go well beyond the diamond.

“It’s great for them to play with their idols and have some banter,” he said. “It gives them some aspirations and resiliency for the world they’re entering.”

The Black Sox have a team building “longest day challenge” today and an intersquad practice game from 9.30am at Waikirikiri Park tomorrow.

The public are encouraged to head down and watch them in action.

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