Ngāpuhi baseballer set to get a taste of college life in US

Ngāpuhi's Jason Matthews is one of five young New Zealand baseballers who will attend college in America and will be trained by some of America's top baseball coaches. 

Matthews, alongside Connor Gleeson, Ben Thompson, Jake May and Matthew Boyce will be spread across the US to attend respective colleges and will attend world-class training sessions. 

Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn says, “This is the biggest group of freshmen college starters we’ve ever had in our sport’s young history and with others already in the States and Japan playing at collegiate or professional level, we are beginning to show just how much the game of baseball can do for young New Zealand baseball players who aspire to a collegiate degree and maybe even something more with their considerable talents.”

Matthews will head to Southeastern Junior College in Iowa after he impressed coaches with his standout performances at two Major League Baseball events within the past year. He also played with the Arizona Diamondbacks scout team at the 2015 Arizona Senior Fall Classic.

“Jason is an amazing athlete who has really worked hard to get himself prepared for college after making our men’s national team, the Diamondblacks, in February at the World Baseball Classic.  

He has also grown into a fine young man, thanks to the upbringing he’s received from his sister Sue and fully deserves his college scholarship, as do all the young men starting college life this month.”

Glendowie College pair Connor Gleeson and Ben Thompson have both been playing baseball and preparing for US college life by playing in Canada, Gleeson in Ontario and Thompson in Alberta.

Diamondblacks squad pitcher Ben Thompson is Arizona-bound after his stint with the Okotoks Dawgs Academy in Canada, where he completed his high school degree. Thompson will be heading to Chandler Gilbert Community College, just outside of Phoenix in Arizona.

National championship U18 tournament batting title winner Jake May is in Canada where he is being coached by Oceania Baseball Coaching Director, Ray Brown. 

Christchurch pitcher Matt Boyce is also in the U.S., finally beginning his baseball activities at College of the Canyons in California. 

This group of five join a host of other New Zealander's who already attend respective colleges in the US.