Coaching Staff Named for 2017 All Star Team to Play at Cal Ripken World Series

A new venue and new coaching staff have been named to lead the New Zealand All Star U13 squad for the 2017 Cal Ripken World Series (CRWS) in August at a brand new Ballparks of America facility in Branson, Missouri, USA.

Diamondblacks, Howick-Pakuranga and former professional Brisbane Bandits pitcher Andrew Marck will be head coach for the team and will be assisted by fellow New Zealand national team member and Adelaide Bite catcher/infielder Connar O’Gorman, along with National Development Officer Dan Tan and long-time Auckland and Counties youth coach Mark Irwin.

“It was a difficult process (to select the coaching panel) in the sense that we have started to develop a broader base of coaches in the country which in the past hasn’t always been the case,” said Baseball New Zealand Director Aaron Campbell, adding, “All the applicants have put in a lot of time into their local clubs and regional teams, but we only had four spots, so the hard part was turning good coaches who work hard away.”

“Of course, we are always looking for coaches who have a good understanding of the game, have experience, are eager to develop our young players and compete at the highest level,” said Campbell, “but we were also looking for coaches that are eager to learn and get better, and this situation provided an opportunity for that and education.”

This will be Andrew Marck’s first time as head coach of a national team, having served as an assistant coach with the Ripken team a year ago in Maryland, and Campbell says about Marck: “Having played professionally and represented New Zealand at WBC (World Baseball Classic) tournaments he has been exposed to baseball at the highest level, so he understands what is needed to compete, and compete under pressure.”

“He also knows first-hand what it takes to get physically, and more importantly, mentally prepared for a game, a season and a tournament,” says Campbell, who as a player was part of the 2012 WBC team alongside Marck in the country’s first WBC event in Taiwan. “We felt Andrew always had the right skill set to become a head coach, and after being involved as an assistant with national teams previously, he has experienced and learned a lot just being in those environments. With the right balance of support, continuous learning and more opportunities he will continue to develop those skills and become a top head coach for the country in the future.”

Andrew Marck has experience at the Ripken level having been an assistant to 2016 Head Coach Randy Yard and said, “I learned a great deal from Randy on how he managed the team and am looking forward to taking the reins this year, this is a big step in my coaching career I’m looking to add my innovative approach to the team.

We have a very strong coaching staff and I look forward to getting together with them to discuss our approach and the selection process,” said Marck who added, “Under 13 is a very important age in a young ball players life and I look forward to having an influence on their careers.”

The team will be selected for the August tournament following the United Airlines U13 Ripken tournament from 6th to 9th of April at Rosedale Park and a series of one-off trials during the first week of school holidays in April in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The 15-player team with alternates will be named soon after tournament and final trials.


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