Navy man pitching sports to Canterbury kids

Selwyn Baseball president Andrew Fleck (left) with fellow club members Te Ahu Wall, Blake Hardy,...
Selwyn Baseball president Andrew Fleck (left) with fellow club members Te Ahu Wall, Blake Hardy, son Ayden Fleck, Jacob Davidson, Neil Davidson and Devon Hardy. Photo: Selwyn Baseball
Andrew Fleck is eager to see Canterbury kids stay active in sport.

The 43-year-old navy veteran from Rolleston took over as president of Selwyn Baseball last year, and is determined to ensure it offers opportunities for young people.

The organisation was started in 2017, thanks to former national representative Sean Ellison and fellow club member Neil Davidson, whose son Jacob is a promising age-group pitcher.

Fleck’s son Ayden started playing baseball the following year. He came on board as the treasurer and then was given the top job 12 months later.

”I work for myself as a consultant so I did a fair bit of the donkey work because I have the time so I took over as president."

Fleck played softball on the North Shore with the navy and is a former vice-president of Rolleston Softball.

”I came to baseball because to me, in my opinion, there are better opportunities in the sport compared to softball, particularly for young men to grow.

”In America girls play softball and boys play baseball, so for college opportunities for boys baseball is the way to go.”

The Selwyn club has grown from one senior team in 2017 to seven teams, with age-groups ranging from under-11s to under-19s.

The under-19 team finished fourth at the national championships in Auckland last month.

Fleck said he did not like the idea of a baseball and softball rivalry and was keen to see sports in Rolleston share more resources going forward to cut down on operating costs.

”The likes of softball, rugby and touch all play at the same place and share the same resources so it seems a logical option to me.

”It doesn't matter what sport it is as long as people enjoy it and kids get an opportunity.

”My main goal is to get kids off streets and get involved in sports or arts and crafts.”

Fleck, who is originally from Christchurch, moved to Rolleston when he retired from the navy in 2008.

He plays golden oldies rugby for Rolleston as well as social softball.

”I had my final three years at Burnham before I retired so Rolleston seemed to be a good fit after it all.”

He remains in the Naval Reserves and has the rank of chief petty officer seamen combat specialist.

”i’ll go into the base and fill in when needed, it allows me to still be part of that scene.”

He said success for him would be a homegrown player making it in the US.

”That would be great, but even just a chance to grow the game here would be a good step.”

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