Australian league is next move, says NZ head

Wed Dec 5, 2012 1:33am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Entering a team in Australia's Baseball League by 2014 and building a permanent facility was now in the sights of Baseball New Zealand after their credible performance at last month's World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament, according to the sport's chief executive.

The Diamondblacks, a team of locals, expatriates and North Americans with New Zealand heritage, made the final of the four-team tournament but were beaten by seventh-ranked Taiwan 9-0.

New Zealand had been unranked prior to the tournament, but after a 12-2 win over Thailand and 10-6 over the Philippines they were given a world ranking of 29 by baseball authorities, something that Ryan Flynn said had vindicated their leap of faith in inviting the team to the tournament.

"They took a gamble," Flynn told Reuters in a telephone interview from Auckland. "We were unranked. We came out of nowhere but ... they trusted we could put a team on the field that would represent the tournament, country and global baseball and we did.

"I think everybody around the world is quite pleased with jumping up to 29 in the world."

The two losses to Taiwan, 10-0 in pool play and then 9-0 in the final, had been a lot closer than the scorelines suggested Flynn said, with the Taiwanese scoring eight runs in the fifth innings of the first game and six in the fourth innings of the final.

"Taiwan are one of the true super powers of the sport, and we matched them for half of two games before our inexperience and lack of depth showed through.

"But I (have never been) as proud of a group of men in my life. Our staff, and coaches were world class and our players believed they could play with anyone in the world and used it to showcase their talent."   Continued...