FIVE Shoalhaven junior baseball stars are breaking new ground and will soon make names for themselves as Illawarra players.
Stephen Pearson, Austin Raymond, Andrew Pearson, Aaron Taylor and Murray Lugg will all compete in this weekend’s NSW Country Junior Baseball championships.
Held at Fred Finch Park Berkeley, Wollongong, the boys will play for Illawarra in their age groups against representative teams from Central Coast, Newcastle and Mid North Coast.
At the end of the championships squads are picked to represent NSW Country at the Australian National Baseball Champ-ionships next January.
It is here that that American baseball scouts are waiting to see Australia’s best young talent.
The Junior NSW Country Championship have been competed since the 1960s and all boys are looking forward to possible being a part of that history.
Stephen Pearson is in his first year playing teeball for the under 10s and specialises in the infield.
His older brother Andrew is also a rookie and has made the under 14s team in the infielder.
Austin Raymond joins Andrew in the under 14s team in the infield and as pitcher.
Aaron Taylor will join the Illawarra team for the third time and has been selected as catcher.
Star pitcher Murray Lugg is a seven time Illawarra player and has been selected twice to represent Country at under 14 and under 16 level.
The boys will be guided by Shoalhaven Mariners junior development officer Michael Taylor.
Taylor is a former ACT representative player and is now the Illawarra under 16s assistant coach.
He has previously coached Illawarra Little League and the championship winning under 14 team in 2008.
To be selected for Illawarra, the Shoalhaven players also had to play with Kiama last summer.
Taylor hopes that once the Shoalhaven’s own baseball facility at Ison Park is up and running next year, baseball involvement in the Shoalhaven will peak.
“At the moment our seniors have been playing their home games up in Berkley. That will change next season and hopefully we can have more families come and watch and cheer on their local team,” he said.
“More and more families are getting involved all the time. Last summer we had 50 juniors, 25 of which were teeballers.”
“In teeball, half of those players were girls, so it is a great sport that everyone can join in no matter what your ability or level.
“As we grow, we will eventually have enough members to have our own junior rep teams.”
The Shoalhaven Mariners will host Try TeeBall and Junior Baseball days on Sunday, September 15 and Sunday, September 22 at Ison Park, South Nowra.
For inquiries about Shoalhaven Teeball and Junior Baseball, contact Shoalhaven Mariners junior development officer Michael Taylor on 0412 239 939 or firstname.lastname@example.org
All Shoalhaven baseball information can be found at www.shoalhavenmariners.baseball.com.au