The Kevin Herlihy Softball Tournament at Tom Voyle Park on Sunday doubled as a fundraising event for two Cambridge softballers hoping to make the trip of a lifetime this year.
The Tom Voyle Sports Club hosted the event in part to fundraise for Daniel de Jong and Jordan West, who were recently selected to represent New Zealand at softball tournaments in Australia.
Proceeds from the event have not yet been finalised, but the fundraising effort continues.
After just 12 months of playing the game Daniel was in disbelief to find out he’d made it onto the ISA New Zealand U14 Boys team, which will participate in the New South Whales U14 International Challenge in Sydney over March 19 – 25.
“I was just quite shocked really, because I haven’t really played too much softball. I just put my name down in case I got selected, and I did,” Daniel smiled. “So I’m quite excited.”
For Jordan West it’s an equally exciting opportunity to make an ISA New Zealand team – competing in the New South Wales Softball Blues U15/16 Boys Junior Tournament in October.
“I was really excited when I found out, kind of in disbelief,” he grinned. “I’ve done reps before but I’ve never put my name down for ISA. So this was the first time, and I’m pretty stoked that I made it.”
The boys said the best part of the opportunity would be training under former Black Sox coaches and making the most of the ISA development programme – as well as having fun of course.
Club coach Tyrone West said he was very proud of the boys.
“As a coach you can only show them so much, but it’s whether or not they take it in. But these kids are turning up and they’re wanting to learn. That’s what makes a difference.
“I was really surprised at Daniel’s result too because he’s only played for a year and he’s already made the New Zealand side.”
West attributed the fact that Daniel listens and applies what he’s told as a contributor to his rapid success on the field.
The boys will get to enjoy a few tourist sites in Australia before developing their skills with ISA New Zealand, then playing a few round robin games before their big tournaments – where they’ll face off against teams from Australia and Japan.
“Whatever these boys learn, they’ll give it back to the club when they come back,” said West.
“It’s all about giving back to the community.”