Māori baseballer making her mark on International Women's Day

By Ruth Smith

Arene Landon-Lane, the only female in the U16 Porirua Bombers Baseball Club is making her mark on International Women's Day at the United Airlines under 16 National Baseball Championships, being held at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Auckland.  The Porirua Bombers' catcher is not only one the youngest, but she is also the only female player on her team.

"I started when I was nine and that's when it started getting big. I guess no other girls just wanted to play," said the 14-year-old catcher.

Landon-Lane is passionate about playing baseball and hope that females taking part in the sport can be promoted.

First timers to the champs, the Porirua Boomers have faced a lot of adversity to get to Auckland and participate in the annual United Airlines under 16 National Baseball Championships, they missed out last year not being able to raise funds in time.

"We worked hard on our fundraising and that, it's a big cost to get up here for this tournament for the out of town teams.  Didn't quite get it done last year, but it gave us a bit of extra time to get us prepared for this year and we're having a pretty good trip so far," said Head Coach, Nate Lambert. 

He also explained that Baseball is a growing sport in New Zealand, bringing the youth an abundance of opportunity including international exposure.

"We've got guys that are working hard to try and get into the College system and stuff like that in the States.  There's just a lot of opportunities for overseas travel and really cool and fun experiences for the kids which is great."

The rain may have been pelting down at Day 2 of the championships, and even though games were delayed, the spirits remained high.

"The kids are having fun in the dug-out at the moment in the rain.  They're not minding the break at the minute but we want to try and get out in the diamond as much as possible.  the kids love it out there and they want to show what they can do," said Coach Lambert. 

The under 16 championships will continue into the weekend, with finals being played on Sunday.