Wilson eyes up US baseball scholarship

FAST BALL: Joshua Wilson's top pitching speed is 109khm, but says he consistently hits 104khm.

Joshua Wilson has got American college scholarships in sight every time he pitches.

The Mt Pleasant 17-year-old will travel to the United States next month to compete with the New Zealand under-18 baseball squad at the Arizona Fall Classic Showcase.

The Southern Astros and Canterbury pitcher said his selection for the team was based off his performance during the nationals held in Orewa in April.

When Southern Astros coach Nathan McDonald approached him to say he had a spot on the national team, Joshua said he was “keen as.”

“It’s incredible, it was a pretty big surprise to be honest,” he said.

To keep his skills sharp during the off season, Joshua had been regularly training with McDonald.

The first of two training camps he will be attending with the New Zealand team starts in two weeks.

As the only player in the side from the South Island, Joshua will have to travel to Auckland for both camps.

Canterbury Baseball president Brian Hemera said Joshua had risen rapidly in the sport after first walking out onto a diamond only two years ago. “He’s very keen on baseball and working bloody hard,” Mr Hemera said.

He said the trip would be an opportunity for Joshua and his teammates to get noticed by college and professional scouts, who use the showcase as a chance to see new talent.

“A scholarship into a university there is a very good step in the right direction. You get that and the world’s your oyster,” Mr Hemera said.

“The next Steven Adams might be playing baseball, not basketball.”

Joshua said the chance at a US college scholarship was the main reason he wanted to go. But he said he did not have a preference for which college.

“I just want to play baseball and get a good education. The Los Angeles or San Francisco ones would be good as it’s warmer there so they play for longer,” Joshua said.

He said he was feeling confident about how the New Zealander team would go over their 11 games during the 14 day showcase.

“I think we’ll be alright, we’ll definitely win some games,” Joshua said.

“It should be good.”