"It's a buzz!" Tuatara riding high as ABL playoff series draws closer.

By James Perry

The Auckland Tuatara are the talk of the local sports scene in Auckland.

As they prepare to play their first-ever Australian Baseball League finals game against Melbourne, Te Ao Māori News met with some of the team.

In the minutes immediately after clinching a playoffs berth in the last series of the regular season, Tuatara Chief Executive Regan Wood says he wasn't exactly sure what was in store for the club.

"When we won on Saturday and Sunday, and Brisbane have been four-time champions, they've always been a champion club - great blokes, and they came up to me and said congratulations. I said, "Thank you. What do we do now?"

The answer is they play Melbourne Aces in a best of three semi-final series beginning on Thursday night, before returning home on Friday for Game 2 on Saturday, and Game 3 (if required) on Sunday.

Ngāpuhi outfielder Daniel Lamb-Hunt says it's only the beginning.

"The boys set the goal at the beginning of the year, that was our goal was to make the postseason, and bring a playoff game to Auckland. So yeah, we've succeeded there and now we've reset to bring a Championship back home. So yeah, it's a buzz!"

Lamb-Hunt was a late arrival to the squad this season, arriving in December, having had to see out residency requirements in his new home of Germany, where he's been playing for the past ten years.

"I kind of got in a bit late with asking my boss for the time off, and so she couldn't give me the time off until December, so we kind of made that work. But yeah, apparently I've passed the citizenship test, so now it's just up to the German government to see if they want to let me keep both passports."

Now that he's back in the country, Lamb-Hunt is ready to help the side continue to make history, and deliver some happy news to long-suffering Auckland sports fans. The Breakers were the last Auckland-based professional sports team to return an international title home, in 2015. Lamb-Hunt says he can feel the buzz growing in the country's largest city.

Social media has blown up, and even the crowds here in the stadium has grown every week. The buzz that's surrounding us right now is awesome, and like you said Auckland needed some success."

It has been a roller-coaster season for the club this year, with the death of 23-year old infielder Ryan Costello on the eve of the season opener against the Perth Heat. The club has Costello's shirt hanging in the changing room at North Harbour Stadium, that players walk past before each game. Wood says it has helped the players move past the tragedy and use it as motivation this season.

"He's given us power and we are the only ones who get to use it, and we talk about mana, we talk about all these things as Kiwis, he's given that to us. It's up to us in explaining that to these young men to comprehend it and how we go about it."

Game 1 begins on Thursday night at 9 pm (NZT) and will be broadcasted on Sky Sports.