WHILE most of Shoalhaven’s students don jumpers and scarves for the July school holidays, Andrew Pearson will be packing his baseball kit for the US tour of a lifetime.
Next week the Shoalhaven Mariners junior will warm up on the baseball diamonds of America as he tours the country for three weeks as a part of the Razorbacks junior baseball squad.
The Razorbacks consists of an u13's and u15's squad which are comprised of the top junior baseball players from the Illawarra and Northern Sydney.
Led by experienced junior coach Ric Wickham, Pearson and the squad will attend three Major League games, including visiting iconic Yankees Stadium, and watch a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and LA Dodgers.
The group will also be special guests at a Triple A game involving The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, based Allentown, Pennsylvania.
But the players won’t just be spectators.
The two Razorbacks teams will also take part in an u13 and u15 baseball tournament against other teams based around Allentown and the Lehigh Valley region.
The final baseball experience will be a guided tour of the US great Cal Ripken’s Ripken Stadium, and they will attend a Single A game featuring the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
One of the biggest highlights for Pearson will be attending a game between his favourite team, Seattle Mariners, and Oakland Athletics.
Here he will also have the chance to run the bases on the Safeco Field before the match.
Pearson said the trip to America will be the chance of a lifetime.
"I am really looking forward to playing against other junior baseball players in the USA,” he said.
“I really want to learn more about baseball, improve my game, and put into practice what I have learnt over there.”
Baseball was a natural fit for Pearson.
His grandfather co-founded the Penshurst West Cowboys Baseball Club in Sydney in the late '70s, and his uncles were both successful junior and senior players.
His younger brother Stephen is also a promising junior who has just been selected in the IJBL U12's squad.
Pearson found love for the sport after he attended a come and try day held by the Mariners at Ison Park four years ago.
In 2012/13 he played for the Kiama Braves u12's, and in the 2013/14 season Pearson not only played for the Braves’ u14's as their catcher, but was a vital member of the first ever Shoalhaven Mariners Under 12's side in the IJBL, which finished third in their debut season.
Pearson was selected in the IJBL u14's in 2013, playing in the Coasties/Greenies Cup at Cherrybrook and the NSW Country Championships at Berkeley.
He has just been selected in the 2014 U14's IJBL Squad for the same tournaments this year.
Pearson said he appreciates the support he has had from the Shoalhaven Mariners, especially junior coach Michael “Squizzy” Taylor.
“Squizzy has allowed me to train with the seniors during the winter to help me prepare for my trip, and I am thankful for all of the guidance he has given me,” Pearson said.