The New Zealand Diamondblacks baseball team is ready to go
for tomorrow's first game of the World Baseball Classic
qualifying tournament against Chinese Taipei in Taiwan.
There were plenty of positive signs for New Zealand manager
Andy Skeels to ponder ahead tomorrow's game that will start
at 11.30pm (NZT) after the Diamondblacks' warm-up matches in
Sydney and Canberra recently.
Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn, said the
coaching staff and management team were pleased to be getting
the opportunity to see all of the 28-man squad get plenty of
"It's important to remember that the coaching staff has never
seen a single player from this team play in a true baseball
game," Flynn said
"These are the first games at this level we've ever played.
Three of the four games the Diamonblacks lost were tight
until the late innings when coaches began substituting
players, running situations, and taking a look at various
combinations on the field and on the mound and of course the
two wins were very comprehensive."
Flynn said while the teams' three top starting pitchers were
given a steady build up to increase their innings pitched
leading to the tournament, they came away from Australia with
additional positive news about the rest of Diamondblacks
"The coaching staff saw some great things from Jamie Wilson,
Andrew Marck, Christian Wise and John Lee, whilst there were
some nerves at work with a few of our more inexperienced
ballplayers," Flynn added.
Major League Baseball slugger Johnny Damon, who is a two-time
World Series winner, will line up for Thailand when they open
their campaign against the Philippines tomorrow.
New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines and Thailand are
all vying for one spot in next year's World Baseball Classic,
which will be played in March.