Homegrown Little League team bound for World Series

Published 5:00pm 15 June 2022

Homegrown Little League team bound for World Series
Words by Jodie Powell

The Brisbane North Baseball Little League team has made history, booking a berth at the 2022 Little League Baseball World Series.

The team, playing in a combined team drawn from the Redcliffe Padres, Narangba Demons and Pine Rivers Rapids baseball clubs, beat NSW team Hills 9-3 in the gold medal game at the Little League Division 1 Nationals on Monday.

Brisbane North lost just one match during the series – ironically a 4-0 draw against Hills on Friday.

Bound for the United States

Head coach Keith Land says he and fellow coaches Chris Clem from Narangba and Shane Wilson from Pine Rivers are incredibly proud of the team, which will represent Australia against teams from around the world in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in August – and that the win is still sinking in.

“We dreamt about it – our team motto was ‘Dare to Dream’,” he laughs.

“They have worked so hard to get there – they’re not a bunch of boys, we’re a family.

“Last year we played in the state titles and didn’t make the finals and then a month or so ago we won the state title which gave us a ticket to Sydney.

“They just kept getting better and better – it’s unbelievable.

“I am so proud and happy for them – it’s not about me, it’s about 14 kids.”

New kid on the block

Keith says while most of the team of 11 and 12-year-olds – Fletcher Adams, Archie Baert, Aaron Bell, Jacky Byrne, Mason Clem, Chase Crew, Alonso Zaire Griffin, Xavier Honsa, Logan Lokeni, Archer Petersen, Keita Tsujinaka, Tirrell Waiwai, Khyden Wilson and Tyler Wilson – have been playing for years, Archie only took up the sport this year.

“Archie played in my side (at Redcliffe Padres) and we came runner-up in the grand final and now he’s off to the World Series – he’s learning like a sponge.”

Archie’s skills came to the fore in Sunday’s semi-final, when he casually took the last catch of the match to secure Brisbane North’s spot in the grand final.

“As he was running off, he said ‘hey coach, I kept the ball – is that ok?’ Keith chuckles.

“It’s a moment he’ll remember for the rest of his life, and so will I.”

Making history

Making the win even more remarkable, Keith says Brisbane North only has about 40 players across three clubs to choose from to make up its Little League team.

“Some of the clubs in NSW have got literally hundreds to choose from,” he explains.

“What makes it even more special is that we’re a regional team and we’re only the second ever Queensland team to make it to the Nationals – the Gold Coast did it in 2018.”

He says they’re thrilled to be representing the Moreton Bay Region, the state and the nation in the US.

“Brisbane North has never got this far, let alone the whole shooting match.

“It’s a reward for all the volunteers over the years who have put in the hard work to get us (the sport of baseball in Moreton Bay) where we are today.”

Grand parade

Keith says most of the team has no idea what they’re in for in the US.

“They get given everything for playing – the uniform, the bag, the cleats, the gloves, the bats.

“There will be a street parade with 40,000 people and they’ll be on the back of a truck throwing lollies and souvenirs at the crowd.

“They’ll be playing in front of 5000-10,000 people every day.

“It’s a real Field of Dreams and all of it costs them absolutely nothing.”

Read more local news here.

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