New Zealand Community Trust Black Sox names 17 man squad

April 6, 2007

Wellington, NZ

New Zealand Community Trust Black Sox coach Eddie Kohlhase has today named a 17 man squad full of experience to travel to Canada in June given the tough nature of the tour ahead of them.

Of the 17 players named today eight were part of the world championship winning team of 2004 and just one Tyson Byrne from Hutt Valley will be looking to make his NZCT Black Sox debut on tour.

“The NZCT Black Sox selection panel believes the squad named today is the best 17 players available and whilst the door is not shut to other athletes we have picked this team to play Canada in six games and four exhibition games on tour.

“We can’t under estimate the challenge the team faces in June, Canada will be out to prove a point and it is great for us to go over there and test where we are at in terms of our preparations for the 2009 World Champs to be held in Canada,” said Kohlhase.

The NZCT Black Sox have not played Canada since the 2004 World Championships in Christchurch when the New Zealand team claimed their third consecutive world title with a 9-5 victory over the Canadians in the final.

Kohlhase says the tour in June will be a new experience for the NZCT Black Sox team. In the past when the New Zealand men’s softball team has travelled to North America the tour would have consisted of almost 30 games against club teams and lasted for almost four weeks.

For this tour the NZCT Black Sox will be away for less than two week and will only play 10 games. Kohlhase says the tour is more about quality games rather than quantity.

“It is a very short tour and something we haven’t done before so it is really testing our preparation.”

Of the squad named today there is only one new cap 18-year-old Hutt Valley infielder Tyson Byrne. In recent seasons he has been part of the Junior Black Sox squad. Kohlhase says the youngster has all the abilities the selection panel was looking for including the fact that he hits left handed.

“Tyson is a fantastic prospect and we think he can be so much better in two years time. Tyson along with Jonathan Munden have come through from the Junior Black Sox and we as a selection panel see them as future stars in our game.”

Another new face in the squad named today is that of Auckland pitcher Heinie Shannon. In recent season Shannon has been playing his international softball for Samoa and hasn’t played for New Zealand since 1998. Heinie joins his twin brother Patrick in the squad.

Kohlhase says Shannon has made himself available for New Zealand this season and the selectors are keen to put him in the Black Sox environment and see how he goes on tour.

The squad will assemble in Auckland for the first time on April 12th for the three day training camp

NZCT Black Sox team to tour Canada:
Pitchers – Jeremy Manley (Hutt Valley), Heinie Shannon (Auckland), Michael Gaiger (Canterbury).
Catchers – Patrick Shannon (Auckland), Stephen Ratu (Wellington), Jonathan Munden (Auckland).
Infield – Jarrad Martin (North Harbour), Travis Wilson (Canterbury), Nathan Nukunuku (Auckland), Brad Rona (North Harbour), Tyson Byrne (Hutt Valley).
Outfield – Stacy McLean (Wellington), Thomas Makea (Wellington), Daniel Milne (Canterbury), Gus Leger (Auckland), Rhys Casley (Hutt Valley), Donny Hale (Auckland)

* Email:snz@softball.org.nz

Cheers Vance
Softball New Zealand web master.
* Email:vanf@ihug.co.nz

June 8 - 16, New Zealand Black Sox Tour Ontario - All Dates, Teams and Locations are Tentative - TBC
. June 11 - NZ Black Sox vs Jarvis Merchants - Jarvis, ON
. June 12 - NZ Black Sox vs Kitchener Twins - Tavistock, ON
. June 14 - NZ Black Sox vs Canadian National Team - Orillia, ON
. June 15 - NZ Black Sox vs Canadian National Team - Sebringville, ON
. June 16 - NZ Black Sox vs Canadian National Team - Kitchener, ON

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