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Kiwis Worldwide: May Update

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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.

I recently got an update on Te Wera Bishop, who is playing for the Boston Red Sox Gulf Coast League affiliate from his brother Dave and he said that Te Wera is one of 5 catchers in his team so he has to share diamond time.

Te Wera explained his day: "I get up at 6:00am and head to the field, which is 10min away, at about 6:30am for field work and hitting, [followed by] breakfast at 8.00am back at the hotel. I live at the Holiday Inn and my roomy is another catcher named David Sopilka. After breakfast we go out to stretch at usually 9am, depending if I have early workouts. Games have started for us now against other teams, instead of in-house, and our team has been playing well. We play every day except Sundays and most days are double headers unless it's against the Orioles as it's a travel game. I see Pita Rona every week, we catch up and talk baseball and it seems like he is doing well with the transition."

At the time of Te Wera's update, he was yet to hit a home run, but has featured strongly both behind the plate and with the bat, sitting on a .375 average. He has also had good feedback from his coaches who are really pleased with his game calling, which so far has been 24 innings with only 3 runs scored, including, two 1 hit games.

The Gulf Coast League 2013 season begins June 21. 

Diamondblack slugger Boss Moanaroa has picked up his season with Red Sox A Affiliate Greenville Drive recently. After a spell on the DL, Boss is hitting just .195, but has a very healthy OBP (On-Base Percentage) of .317 having been walked 21 times in 123 at bats. After 37 games, Boss has 15 runs on 24 hits.

The Holdzkom brothers Lincoln and John have got their seasons underway with the Wichita Wingnuts and Amarillo Sox respectively. The Wingnuts have started the season well and are sitting atop of the Central Division of the AAIPB with a 15-7 record. Lincoln has so far pitched in 11 games and 11 innings of relief, with a 1-0 Win-Loss and a hugely respectable ERA of just 1.64.

Meanwhile younger brother John has also pitched in 11 games for his Amarillo Sox, throwing 10 innings with 1-1 record and an ERA of just 3.60, including 1 save.

Up in Canada, Diamondblacks pitcher Jamie Wilson's season is underway with the Okotoks Dawgs in the WMBL. The Dawgs have started well posting a solid 5-2 record to sit 2nd in their division 2 games behind the Medicine Hat Mavericks. Jamie has featured in 3 games so far, winning 1 from 4.2 innings of relief, an 11-4 win over Edmonton and started in the Dawgs most recent game, a 7-4 win over Saskatoon, but didn't feature in the decision.

Auckland infielder Duncan Izaaks is steadily making a name for himself at Toronto Blue Jay Daniel Devonshire's old school, Colby Community College in Kansas. After his first (freshman) year playing only 18 games, Duncan batting a highly respectable .410, with a .477 OBP. In his sophomore year, Duncan has had another solid season batting .350 in 60 games. He is now back in New Zealand looking at next steps in his baseball career and education.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, catcher Connar O'Gorman continues to impress. He has completed 2 years at New Mexico Junior College and the team finished 2nd in Region 5 WJCAC Division but were unfortunately knocked out of the regional tournament. Despite this, Connar was named in the Region 5 All-Conference 2nd team and earned the prestigious NMJC "Jack Poyner" Award for being selected as the Hardest Working Player who showed outstanding leadership skills at the recent New Mexico Junior College Athletic Awards. On the diamond, Connar finished the season with a healthy batting average of .337 and behind the plate he achieved a sterling fielding percentage of .989, outstanding figures.

Now he has finished at NMJC, Connar has signed a letter of intent to play for the NCAA Division II, University of Southern Indiana.

And finally, if you've been living under a rock, you might not have heard that 17-year-old pitcher Makauley Fox from Auckland will be heading stateside in the new-year after accepting a scholarship to play baseball and study and NCAA Division I college, Oregon State University.

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.

Your's in Baseball,
Ian McDonald

P.S. Go the Yankees!!!!

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