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Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald is the Communications Adviser for Baseball New Zealand.

Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Winter has well and truly settled in so time to update you on our Kiwi players from around the world and what they’re up to on diamonds across the world.

Holdzkom-e1460416117529A couple of months ago, former Pittsburgh Pirates and Diamondblacks pitcher John Holdzkom signed a deal to join the Chicago White Sox and he appears to be on the path back to the majors soon. John has been working out at Chicago’s Arizona base over the last two months in Extended Spring Training while building his arm strength after a series of issues in 2015. He has been pushing through a number of rehab protocols and expects to be sent to one of the White Sox minor league affiliates by the end of June.

Diamondblacks pitcher Nick Maronde is also on the up again after an early season Maronde Columbusinjury hampered his progress at Cleveland Indians AAA affiliate Columbus Clippers—after just three games where he’d picked up a save and given up just one run on five hits and five walks for a 1.80 ERA. Since being activated Nick has been pitching for the Akron Rubberducks, the Indians AA team. In 11 games for the Ducks he has an ERA of 1.69 and 11 strikeouts, giving up just two earned runs on 12 hits over 10.2 innings of work.

Max MissoulaReturning to Arizona, Diamondbacks and Diamondblacks outfielder Max Brown has exploded out of the blocks for the Missoula Ospreys in the rookie Pioneer League after working hard in extended spring training at the D’backs Salt River Fields complex. In his first three games Max is batting .444, going 4 for 9 with a triple, RBI and two runs, posting an incredible 1.282 OPS. Max had a solid 2015 rookie campaign with the D’backs in the Arizona Rookie League, batting .265 with 36 hits including five triples and four doubles in 38 games and his work in the off season has obviously paid dividends.

Baseball New Zealand’s Lincoln Holdzkom International Player of the Year and Diamondblacks pitcher Jimmy Boyce has had a huge 2016 already and it’s only June. After picking up the win against the Philippines for the Diamondblacks at February’s World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Sydney, he had a high school suspension hanging Jimmy Boyceover his head, but thanks to common sense being showed by the Washington State High School Sports Authority, the decision was successfully appealed and Boyce had a superb spring season. He finished as conference Player of the Year and picked up all-star team honours at Pitcher and third base for his Mt Si High School team, as well as Seattle player of the year in the top city newspaper.

Matt ReevesNew Zealand U21 representative Matt Reeves is having a great season with his Clarendon College team in Division One of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 5 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC), where they currently sit fourth. Freshman Matt has played outfield in 44 of 55 games Clarendon has played and is putting an excellent record together, batting .327 with two triples, nine doubles, 54 runs and 29 RBI. Clarendon College is based in Texas and sits in the backyard of the NCAA Big 10 conference, feeding such high profile schools as Oklahoma State University, Texas A & M and Texas Tech.

In Kansas, New Zealand U21 corner infielder Scott Drinkwater is back playing after an injury plagued 2014/15 at Avila University in Kansas. Scott missed the whole spring/summer 2015 season after he broke his hand five days before he was supposed to begin his first seasonscott drinkwater 18 mba with Avila and he played last summer in San Francisco for the Bay Area Tides before heading back to Kansas. The Junior, who is majoring in Finance and has played in 24 games so far this season, hitting a couple of home runs and four doubles.

Mitchell Gray is looking forward to a busy season with Trinidad State Junior College after red-shirting his freshman year. Mitchell says he has used the year to get stronger and work on his pitching mechanics. This summer he will be playing in a collegiate league in Colorado and will play 36 games in 6 weeks, with kids from across the country who come up for the summer.

In Germany, Diamondblacks Third baseman Daniel Lamb-Hunt is continuing his hot form in the spring portion of the Bundesliga, Germany’s top domestic baseball league.

Lamb Hunt

Now playing in his fifth season with the Bonn Capitals, Daniel is proving to be ‘Mr. Reliable’ at third base and with the bat, too, hitting .383 after 16 games of the 2016 season, with four home runs, five doubles and 19 RBI. Over the recent weekend series against the Sollingen Alligators he hit 4-7 with two doubles and three RBI, striking out just once.

Boss NiigataDiamondblacks slugger and 1st base Boss Moanaroa is finding his feet in his first season playing in Japan for Niigata Albirex in the Independent Baseball Challenge League. After moving there at the beginning of April it has taken time to adapt to the lifestyle and different baseball culture in Japan but Boss said recently: “I've adapted really well, I love the country and the people here are awesome. I have also adapted quite well to the style of baseball here and I’m playing every game mixing between first and DH.” Boss added: “My hitting is going well now, as I started the season off slow but have now found my straps and hitting the ball really well.” Having grown up in Australia and played in the U.S., the game is quite different in Japan, but Boss said the standard is similar to the Australian Baseball League (ABL), with the ABL being consistently stronger on most nights.

Just a few days after Boss Moanaroa confirmed his Japanese stint, fellow Diamondblack Connar O’Gorman secured his own playing opportunity with the Kagawa Olive Guyners in the Independent Shikoku Island League. The catcherConnar Kagawa was based in Germany in 2015, where he played for the Hamburg Stealers and Degendorf Dragons before heading back to Australia to play for ABL runners-up, the Adelaide Bite, where he had a tremendous season for the Bite. O’Gorman is currently back in Australia as his league has a six-week break but is looking forward to build on his steady beginnings in Japan before embarking on another ABL season. While Connar found the going tough early on, he showed huge improvement heading in to the break and will be looking forward to flying back in August to build on his recent momentum with his ball club.

A number of young Kiwis are making huge strides in the game of baseball with their new beginnings in Canada, with Bayside Westhaven Baseball Club and New Zealand U18 pitcher Connor Gleeson in Ontario and Central City Baseball Club U18 outfielder Jake May is living and training in Edmonton before heading to college, and another top Bayside Westhaven pitcher Ben Thompson is continuing to pitch for the Okotoks Dawgs in Edmondton before heading to college in Arizona.

Gleeson OntarioGleeson headed to Ontario in April following a family holiday which featured a visit to Arizona Diamondbacks stadium, Chase Field where he got to meet plenty of D’Backs superstars including Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin. Connor is playing for the Ontario Royals U18 team, following in the footsteps of two previous Kiwis, Quinten Niu and Matt Boyce under the watchful eye of former New Zealand coach Matt Mills. Gleeson has had two starts with Ontario since his arrival, and in his second start he pitched a seven-inning complete game gem, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out six. Prior to heading to Ontario, Connor was invited to try out at four junior colleges and after being invited back by three of the four has decided he will sign a letter of intent to play at South Florida State Community College in August, which is situated in Avon Park, approximately 135kms southeast of the Tampa/St Petersburg cities.

National U18 tournament batting title winner Jake May has also headed to Canada recently to work out with the Edmonton Prospects Baseball team, coached by Oceania Coaching Director Ray Brown, who was last in New Zealand for the U18 Oceania Championships in early 2015. Jake is only training with the team but hopes to play the odd pick-up game while in Edmonton before he heads to Houston, Texas to begin the fall semester at Alvin Community College, one of many who are heading to college at the same time.

Ben Thompson 1Diamondblacks squad pitcher Ben Thompson (Glendowie College) is college bound, too, later this winter after another standout stint with the Okotoks Dawgs Academy in Canada, heading to Chandler Gilbert Community College, just outside of Phoenix in Arizona. And Counties Manukau shortstop Jason Matthews (Alfriston College, Auckland) is off to Southeastern Junior College in Iowa to begin his American baseball journey in August. Jason MVPHowever, before his planned departure Jason will be heading to the Major League Baseball Academy on the Gold Coast along with fellow Aucklanders Kyle Glogoski (Howick College, Auckland) from Bayside-Westhaven, Howick-Pakuranga’s Elliott Johnstone (Sacred Heart College) and Correze Nepia (Auckland Grammar).

Christchurch pitcher Matt Boyce is also in the U.S. at College of the Canyons in California, but unfortunately injured his pitching arm during fall baseball at college and by the time it came right the spring season was well underway, so Matt decided to redshirt for the season and retain his full four years of NCAA eligibility. He has concentrated on developing arm strength and worked with the pitching coach on pitching technique and will be back in New Zealand over the summer break to work on fitness and conditioning. Matt heads back to the U.S. in August for his first official junior college baseball games and aims to be an integral part of the college baseball team for the upcoming fall and spring seasons.

Young Diamondblacks pitcher Ben Hughlon is readying himself for another fall season with his West GeorgiaBen Hughlon Technical College. Ben says the team were disappointed with how they finished last season and the team and himself are working hard to make sure they accomplish their goals during the spring. Another teenage pitcher, southpaw Diamondblacks hurler and outfielder Jacob Curry has recently signed a letter of intent to attend Benedictine College in Kansas and will be starting his collegiate journey after playing for New Zealand in February in Sydney. Jacob says he’s raring to go after an injury-plagued last few months and will be in top shape come August when he reports to his new school.

quintenniusmlAnother key New Zealand player who has already begun his college baseball career in the U.S. is catcher Quinten Niu who began his North American baseball life at Ontario with Matt Boyce and has since played a semester at Central Arizona College, former school of Diamondblacks shortstop and former Blue Jay Scott Campbell and former Reds farmhand Randy Yard. Niu has since moved schools after some time back in New Zealand and will be heading to Pima College in Arizona in August.

Well that’s it for now, so keep pitching, hitting, fielding or just following the great game of baseball and I’ll be back soon with another update.

Yours in Baseball,

Ian McDonald


Wedz is yet to hit a auto but hit 2 doubles yesterday one off the green monster and one off centrefield fence with loaded bases (clearing the bases). He also threw a runner out at in the game. This takes him to 8rbi's, 5 walks, 2 sacs and 4 doubles with a .375 Average (9-24) and 1 from 1 on steal attempts against him.
The coaches are really happy with his calling because he has had 24 innings catching so far with 3 runs and calling two 1 hit games as well.every week, we catch up and talk baseball and it seems like he is doing well with the transition."

Wedz is yet to hit a auto but hit 2 doubles yesterday one off the green monster and one off centrefield fence with loaded bases (clearing the bases). He also threw a runner out at in the game. This takes him to 8rbi's, 5 walks, 2 sacs and 4 doubles with a .375 Average (9-24) and 1 from 1 on steal attempts against him.
The coaches are really happy with his calling because he has had 24 innings catching so far with 3 runs and calling two 1 hit games as well.na every week, we catch up and talk baseball and it seems like he is doing well with the transition."

Wedz is yet to hit a auto but hit 2 doubles yesterday one off the green monster and one off centrefield fence with loaded bases (clearing the bases). He also threw a runner out at in the game. This takes him to 8rbi's, 5 walks, 2 sacs and 4 doubles with a .375 Average (9-24) and 1 from 1 on steal attempts against him.
The coaches are really happy with his calling because he has had 24 innings catching so far with 3 runs and calling two 1 hit games as well.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

It's Championship time for many North American college and high school teams and plenty of Kiwi Baseballers are featuring in these high pressure series over the next few weeks.

Yes I am still here and I know I haven't written an update in a while, but there's so much going on around the world with our Kiwi's on the diamonds, so time to let you know what's been happening.

JohnHoldzkom IndyAfter a productive spring training on the mound for New Zealand Diamondblacks pitcher John Holdzkom with Pittsburgh Pirates, he was designated to Triple-A Indianapolis Indians to begin 2015 and so far has pitched fairly well. Just one outing when he gave up a few runs has distorted John's stats and having now pitched in 12 games (the most for any Indianapolis pitcher) has a 1-0 record with 2 saves and an ERA of 5.56. John is currently on the 7-day Disabled List with arm fatigue. We're all hopeful that John can maintain his form and return to the Big Show (MLB) with Pittsburgh soon.

New Zealand's other MLB hopeful is Wellingtons Te Wera (Beau) Bishop who is getting plenty of game time in Milwaukee Brewers extended spring training after being signed in February by then Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke who was in the country assisting our programme. By all accounts Beau is working hard on his game and has had good feedback from his coaches on his progress.

Prior to the 2014 NCAA Baseball season getting underway, Makauley Fox's Oregon State University (OSU) and Max Brown's Kansas State University were both ranked amongst some of the best college baseball programmes in the country, so expectations were high for both in 2015.

MakFox OSU2015Diamondblacks pitcher Mak (ACG College, Parnell) is now a sophomore at Oregon State and has pitched well in relief so far in 2015. In 8 appearances for the Beavers, Mak has pitched 6 innings, collecting a save on the way to an outstanding ERA of just 1.50, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits over the season. Oregon State currently sit 2nd in Pac-12 standings and have just one more series against Cal State before the play offs begin. OSU roughly need to make the top 4 in Pac-12 and are currently 19th overall, with a top 16 position meaning they will host their first play off opponents.

MaxBrown Headshot KSUFellow Diamondblack, outfielder Max Brown (Bellevue College, Washington) has been in great form to this year for the Kansas State University Wildcats and celebrated that success by being named the Big-12 player of the week in April, a huge honour for the senior in his last year at College. With the regular season coming to a close in the next two weeks, Kansas State sit 6th in Big 12 standings, while Max is hitting .273 with 30 RBI from his 50 hits and an outstanding .990 fielding percentage from the outfield. Congratulations to Max for his player of the week title and good luck in the next stage of your baseball career.

A couple of Aucklanders have been achieving great success in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division 2 competition, with Luke Hansen (Pakuranga College, Auckland) and Daniel Bradley (St Peters College, Auckland) both winning their respective regional season titles.

Luke's Scottsdale Community College Artichokes came from behind in the three game finals series against Phoenix College to win the series 2-1 to claim the Region I, Div 2 title, winning the decisive game three by 10 to 4. As a freshman with the Artichokes, Luke played in just under half of the teams games, with 11 hits in 56 at bats with 7 walks.

danielbradley NIACC2015Meanwhile, fellow Aucklander Daniel Bradley's North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Trojans out lasted Southwestern Community College in the Region XI Division 2 play offs shutting them out in the final game, winning 7-nil, after winning the first game in the series 12-7 earlier in the day. Daniel starred with the bat for the Trojans finishing with a .362 average, hitting 11 home runs and collecting a mammoth 58 RBI in 59 games. To add to his already glowing baseball resume Daniel is now the all-time hits leader for the Trojans with 139 hits in his two seasons there. He finished top-10 in conference in runs scored (30), triples (1), and home runs (9), and was named to the NJCAA Region XI first-team, the ICCAC batter of the week this week, and will be heading to the NJCAA Division II World Series with his team. This is Daniel's last year at NIACC and he is headed to study and play his baseball at Missouri Baptist University in St Louis next year.

Australian based Kiwi catcher/infielder Connar O'Gorman is now playing his baseball in Germany for the Hamburg Stealers. After a slow start to the season for the Stealers, losing their first six games, they've staged a comeback to get their season back on track with three straight wins. Connar has caught all 9 games so far and is picking up his hitting after his own slow personal start to baseball life in Europe.

After an impressive 21U Baseball World Cup in Taiwan, Scott Drinkwater (St Kentigern College, Auckland) was looking forward to beginning life at Avila University in Kansas. But in the final pre-season game Scott broke a bone in his hand just 5 days before the season started, meaning no baseball for him. He's since had surgery on the hand to remove bone fragments and is now back in San Francisco to play for the Bay Area Tides club over the next three months and will hopefully be back in action for Avila next spring. Without him, Avila made it to the play-offs, but got knocked out in the conference tournament.

Former Howick-Pakuranga infielder Nick Koh (Elim Christian College, Auckland & City College of San Francisco) has been starring for his Indiana Wesleyan University team in his first year at the school and is the top player in the NAIA in fielding with an outstanding .990 fielding percentage. In 36 games, Nicks been steady at the plate, with a .193 average with a good on base average of .319, with 3 RBI and 11 runs. Unfortunately the Wildcats were eliminated from the Crossroads League Tournament on Monday afternoon following a 9-4 loss to No. 2-seed Huntington (Ind.) at Forest Glen Field in Huntington, Indiana. No. 6-seed Indiana Wesleyan opened the tournament on Saturday at No. 3-seed Spring Arbor (Mich.) and lost 5-3. The four teams in the Huntington Bracket converged on Huntington on Monday where Indiana Wesleyan was eliminated by the host team. The Wildcats finished their regular season at the end of April with a 24-28 record.

National 18U starting pitcher Ben Thompson has linked up with Diamondblacks pitcher Jamie Wilson's former club in Canada, the Okotoks Dawgs, on a high school scholarship, while fellow 18U Canterbury pitcher Matthew Boyce and New Zealand 21U slugger Quinten Niu are also in Canada to play in a leading summer baseball league with the Ontario Royals linking up with former New Zealand Baseball coach Matt Mills as a precursor to college baseball in America. All three have had good starts to their stints in Canada with both Ben and Matt recording wins for their respective teams while Quinten has already picked up a few hits early in the season.

Fellow New Zealand 18U batting stars Cooper Hutchinson (Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland) from Central City Baseball Club and Counties shortstop Jason Matthews (Alfriston College, Auckland) are heading to the European Major League Baseball Academy in the Netherlands, while six others, Auckland-based Jordan Hoskings (St Kentigern College, Auckland), Connor Gleeson (Glendowie College, Auckland), Matt Thomas (Glendowie College, Auckland) and Kyle Glogoski (Howick College, Auckland) from Bayside-Westhaven, Howick-Pakuranga's Dylan Irwin (Botany Downs Secondary College) as well as Wellington-based outfielder Siona Gray (Porirua College, Wellington), will join the MLB Academy on the Gold Coast of Australia in August of this year.

I caught up with Cooper recently and asked him about going to the academy, "Travelling to the other side of the world to link up with some of the world's best age grade players and top level MLB coaches is a stunning opportunity" he said, adding "An opportunity such as this is unparalleled in sport in this country."

Cooper said that having someone with him like "Jason (Matthews), who is a good friend, will make the experience so much better as going to the other side of the world can be daunting on your own and we will both be in the ideal position to learn more about the sport and help us both improve our own game."
Another four young kiwi ballplayers are in Northern California at the Napa Valley Community College. Hamish Witters (Kings College, Auckland), Jack Malcolm (Auckland Grammar School) and Oliver and Thomas Weaver (Macleans College, Auckland) are all gaining valuable baseball experience.

In August, five young Aucklanders will get the trip of a lifetime to Chiba, Japan, for the World Children's Baseball Fair. The event was founded in 1989 by baseball home run kings Sadaharu Oh and Hank Aaron, along with Dr Akiko Agishi. The mission of the organization is, "to share the dream of friendship and teamwork with the children of the world and to sow the seeds of that dream through an international baseball fair".

Well that's it for now, so keep pitching, hitting, fielding or just following the great game of baseball and I'll be back soon with another update

Yours in Baseball
Ian McDonald

 

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Time (yes, well overdue) for another update on Kiwi baseballers around the world and some a little closer to home. In this month's offering, I'll be taking a look at a new signing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Baltimore rookie's start to the year and how our college players ended up their seasons whilst also looking at a few players who are starting to make a name for themselves.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Well it’s 2014 and Spring Training games have started in the U.S. and the new Major League season is only 3 weeks away from getting underway when the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers meet in Sydney, but my focus in Kiwi’s Worldwide Blog, version 2014 is catching up with all the New Zealanders playing the great game of Baseball around the world.

In this month’s first offering for 2014, I’ll be taking a look at how our college players have started their seasons whilst also looking at a few players who are starting to make a name for themselves.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Welcome to another Kiwi's Worldwide blog where I am aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseballers are going, playing the game all around the world. This month, I will be looking back on a visit to New Zealand by one of Major League Baseball's superstars, a few kiwi's playing in the Australian Baseball League and the rise of some of our best youth players.

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Time for another update on my Kiwis Worldwide blog where I am aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseballers are going, playing the game all around the world.

In this month’s offering, I’ll be taking a closer look at one of our kiwi’s making his way as a rookie and another young kiwi who has been granted a fantastic opportunity with a scholarship for junior college in the US, plus a couple of Kiwis in Canada who have helped their teams make their respective play-off series.

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Time for another update on my Kiwis Worldwide blog where I aim to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseball players are going, playing the game all around the world.

In this month’s offering, I’ll be taking a look at one rookie’s first pro milestone and I’ll profile Diamondblacks pitcher Andrew Marck and how life is treating him in Canada.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Welcome to the June edition of the “Kiwis Worldwide” blog, aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseball players are going, playing the game all around the world.

In this month’s offering, I’ll be taking a look at how our professional players have started their seasons whilst also looking at a few players who are starting to make a name for themselves in the college/high school arena in the U.S.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Welcome to the May edition of Kiwis Worldwide blog, aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseball players are going, playing the game all around the world. In this month's first offering, I'll be taking a look at how our professional players have started their seasons whilst also looking at a few players who are starting to make a name for themselves in the college/high school arena in the U.S.

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Welcome to another Kiwis Worldwide blog where I am aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseballers are going, playing the game all around the world. In this posting I’ll be focussing largely on those playing professionally around the world.

Diamondblacks slugger Boss Moanaroa’s season has been going for over a month now - with the Boston Red Sox A-affiliate Greenville Drive - and after a hot start to the season where he was batting .500 after a handful of games, but after 26 games his batting average has slumped to .193 but has walked 17 times, giving him a very good OBP of .324. Overall the Drive are struggling early in their season and have only 10 wins so far and are 8.5 games of first place.

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Posted by on in Baseball New Zealand

Welcome to my second Kiwi’s Worldwide post where I am aiming to keep you in touch with how New Zealand baseballers are going, playing the game all around the world.

In this post we check in on how Diamondblack Max Brown performed for his Bellevue College team alongside kiwi catcher Dewald De Klerk, and new beginnings for a few more kiwi’s in the United States and Canada.

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Welcome to my first blog on Kiwi baseballers plying their trade at colleges and professional organisations all over the world.

I can't write this without the regular input from all the players, family and friends so if you want to be covered in this regular update, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . What I'm after in the first instance, is who you are, where you are currently playing and where your family is based in New Zealand (if your family is based elsewhere, please also let me know your New Zealand connection ie; NZ father/mother etc.).

This first blog is mainly letting you know what I'm aiming to achieve by doing this and I am also featuring one of our Kiwi's who is in his first year at Bellevue College in Washington, USA, Dewald De Klerk, but more on him later.

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