by Baseball New Zealand

Diamondblacks Coaching Staff Name First 25 Members of Historic New Zealand World Baseball Classic Team to Compete in Taiwan this November

AUCKLAND – Baseball New Zealand is pleased to announce the provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier being held in Taipei from 15-19 November 2012. The roster features some familiar names and faces to New Zealand baseball fans, including a cross section of the country’s domestic baseball talent and some exciting new Kiwi talent from as far afield as Canada, the United States and Australia as New Zealand prepares for the biggest tournament in the program’s history.

This year’s World Baseball Classic (WBC), the sport of baseball’s world championship held every four years, represents the first time that New Zealand has been invited to compete in the 28-nation event and is considered a reward for the significant growth that has been made by the national program domestically, including a number of Major League Baseball and collegiate signings and dramatic rise in overall player numbers and new clubs across the country.

The roster announcement follows successful tryouts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Further scouting was done throughout the professional leagues in Australia and North America, as well as United States colleges, with no stone left unturned to enable manager Andy Skeels to put together the strongest ever New Zealand roster with the sole intention of qualifying for the World Baseball Classic’s second round in March 2013. Skeels is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants High A club in San Jose, California.

“We’re incredibly excited about the roster we’re going to have on the field for us in Taiwan,” remarked Paraparaumu-born Skeels of the previously unranked (and mostly unknown) Diamondblacks team. “It’s great to have identified so many New Zealand-eligible players of this caliber, current and former collegiate and professional players, plus talented and up-and-coming New Zealand domestic players who will, for the first time, reveal what they can do on the world stage.” Skeels said it was incredibly difficult to cut the squad down from 50 to 25 with so many eligible talented Kiwis, and indicated that the coaching staff will have three more selections to make during the 10-day Auckland training camp over the next two weeks.

The 25 players named to the provisional roster for the WBC Qualifier includes 13 who play or have played professionally overseas. Three players on the roster are currently with professional baseball teams in North America, including first baseman Boss Moanaroa (Greenville Drive – Boston Red Sox), catcher Te Wera (Beau) Bishop (GCL Red Sox – Boston), and infielder Daniel Devonshire (GCL Blue Jays – Toronto), who was drafted this year out of Colby Community College in Kansas. Former professional players also dot the roster, including former Blue Jays minor leaguer and Future’s Game infielder Scott Campbell, former Red Sox 40-man pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom, his brother John, a 6’8″ right-handed pitcher who most recently played with the Bakersfield Blaze, the Cincinnati Reds High A team, and former San Diego Padres minor league hurler Riki Paewai who was mentored by future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman.

The roster includes five sets of brothers including David Skeels, brother to Kiwi-born manager Andy, and former minor league catcher with the Rangers, Athletics, and Mariners organizations, while Sam Bishop is the 23-year-old right-handed pitching brother of Red Sox catcher Te Wera, who in his fifth pitching appearance won the Golden Arm award in Australia’s National Under-23 Tournament this year.

They will be joined by an additional four collegiate and high school players, including the youngest member of the team, Joseph Boyce, a native New Zealand ballplayer who pitches for Chaffey Baseball Club in Washington State.

THE COMPETITION

Clearly an underdog in the WBC tournament, New Zealand will be competing against Thailand, the Philippines and host nation, the 7th ranked team in the world, Chinese Taipei, with the victor progressing to the World Baseball Classic’s next round in March in various locations across the globe. New Zealand’s National Baseball team is considered the Cinderella team and arguably the biggest unknown of the 28 teams in the tournament, as they are currently unranked in the International Baseball Federation world standings.

The World Baseball Classic has expanded for this year’s competition, adding 16 new teams to those that competed in the last World Baseball Classic won by Japan for a second consecutive time in 2009. This has led to the creation of a new qualification round made up of 12 new national teams (Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand) and the four national teams who failed to win a game at the 2009 tournament (Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa). These 16 teams have been split into four qualification groups, each of which have played or will play a modified double-elimination format. Spain and Canada have already advanced respectively from the Florida and Germany qualifying pools in September. The other remaining pool between Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua and Columbia takes place in Panama at the same time New Zealand begins play in Taipei.

The New Zealand team will stay in Auckland, New Zealand for a 9-day training camp from 26 October to 3 November before travelling to Australia on Sunday, 4 November to participate in a number of warm-up games against professional Australian Baseball League teams the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry. The team will then fly out to Taiwan in preparation for their opening game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier against Chinese Taipei on Thursday, 15 November 2012. All New Zealand games will be shown both live and on repeat broadcasts on SKY Television in New Zealand during the tournament, as well as broadcast live around the world online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Further details about the trial venues and times are available at www.baseballnewzealand.com, with further tournament details available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

2012 New Zealand World Baseball Classic Provisional Roster

Pitchers POS Hometown 2012 Club
Adelman, Landon LHP Regina, CAN Regina Red Sox
Bishop, Sam RHP Porirua, NZL Wellington
Boyce, Joe RHP Auckland, NZL Chaffey
Bremner, Wayde RHP Brisbane, AUS Redlands Rays
Dawson, Nick LHP Auckland, NZL Doane College
Holdzkom, John RHP California, USA Canberra Cavalry
Holdzkom, Lincoln RHP California, USA N/A
Marck, Andrew RHP Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Paewai, Riki RHP Brisbane, AUS Pine Hills
Wilson, Jamie RHP London, CAN Howick Pakuranga
Wise, Christian RHP Perth, AUS South Hedland
Catchers B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Bishop, Te Wera R/R Wellington, NZL GCL Red Sox (Boston)
Campbell, Aaron R/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Skeels, David R/R California, USA Orange County Waves
Infielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Campbell, Scott L/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Devonshire, Daniel R/L Auckland, NZL GCL Blue Jays (Toronto)
Hoet, Regan R/R Auckland, NZL Edmonton Blackhawks
Lamb-Hunt, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Moanaroa, Boss L/R Newcastle, AUS Greenville Drive (Boston)
Schoenberger, Alan S/R Brisbane, AUS Brisbane Bandits
Outfielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Auty, Tim R/R Sydney, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Bradley, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL South Perth Cubs
Brown , Max R/R Washington, USA Bellevue College
Lezaic, Marko R/R Auckland, NZL Preston Pirates
Moanaroa, Moko L/L Newcastle, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Staff Position Hometown 2012 Club
Andy Skeels Manager Paraparaumu, NZL San Jose Giants