Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Published 12:00pm 25 July 2022

Little League baseballers pitching for world title
Words by Jodie Powell

Training is in full swing for a team of junior Moreton Bay baseball players that will hit it out against 19 of the best teams from around the world in America next month.

The Brisbane North Baseball Little League team made history in June, booking a berth at the 2022 Little League Baseball World Series, which celebrates its 75th year this year.

Head coach Keith Land says the eyes of baseball fans across the globe will be on the boys from Moreton Bay as they slug it out for the chance to be crowned the world champions of Little League.

“It’s the best 20 teams in the world,” Keith says.

“There’s a great opportunity out there for the kids – there’s all sorts of opportunities.”

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

In preparation for the trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania the team, drawn from the Redcliffe Padres, Narangba Demons and Pine Rivers Rapids baseball clubs, has pitching practice at the Padres ground at Kippa-Ring on Mondays, hitting practice on Wednesdays, spends Friday night at the 5th Wave Martial Arts Academy and trains again on Saturdays and Sundays with optional gym sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Keith’s impressed by the boys’ work ethic but says the emphasis is on having fun while striving to do their best.

"Just seeing them enjoy themselves, it’s just going to be a blast.

"We want to make sure we give them the best experience they could have.

“If we do well at baseball that’s great, but I want them to come back better people,” he says.

Assistant coach Chris Clem says Brisbane North being one of the world’s top 20 Little League teams is especially remarkable because players are only drawn from three clubs in the Moreton Bay Region with a total pool of about 40 players, whereas the Sydney teams they beat were drawn from 12 or 13 clubs.

“They’re a really tight unit for a team of young men and everyone gets along,” he says.

“There’s two three-generation families going over – my son Mason, me and my dad Lyndon and (fellow coach) Shane, his son Khyden and his mum is our scorer.”

Brisbane North beat NSW team Hills 9-3 in the gold medal game at the Little League Division 1 Nationals, losing just one match during the series – ironically going down 4-0 to Hills.

Their first game is against Canada in Williamsport at 5pm on August 17 (7am on August 18 Australian time) and matches will be screened on ESPN.

Meet the team

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Fletcher Adams

Age: 12

School: Bracken Ridge State High School

Home club: Pine Rivers Rapids

How long have you played? Two years

Favourite food? Mexican burritos

Nickname? Stan

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Los Angeles Angels

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Archie Baert

Age: 12

School: Grace Lutheran College Caboolture

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? This is my first year

Favourite food? Honey chicken sushi

Nickname? Buzz or Buzz Lightyear

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Boston Redsox – my family goes for them

Sporting hero? Michael Jordan

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Aaron Bell

Age: 10

School: Bellmere State School

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Five seasons, going on six

Favourite food? Tuna bake or steak

Nickname? Triple-A or Azza

Favourite Major League Baseball team? San Diego Padres

Sporting hero? Fernando Tatis

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Jack Byrne

Age: 12

School: St Eugene College

Home club: Narangba Demons

How long have you played? Seven years

Favourite food? Teriyaki chicken sushi

Nickname? Chucky

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Boston Redsox

Sporting hero? I don’t really have one

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Mason Clem

Age: 12

School: Carmichael College

Home club: Narangba Demons

How long have you played? Two years

Favourite food? Spicy Mexican – nachos and tacos

Nickname? Six-pack

Favourite Major League Baseball team? New York Mets

Sporting hero? My dad. He played pro ball for the Cleveland Indians (now the Cleveland Guardians)

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Chase Crew

Age: 11

School: Grace Lutheran Primary School

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Five or six years

Favourite food? Chicken nuggets

Nickname? Tom Cruise

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Chicago Cubs

Sporting hero? Anthony Rizzo

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Alonso Zaire Griffin

Age: 12

School: Mueller College

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Six years

Favourite food? Ribs with barbecue sauce

Nickname? Z

Favourite Major League Baseball team? San Diego Padres because my dad was born there

Sporting hero? Aroldis Chapman

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Xavier Honsa

Age: 12

School: Grace Lutheran College Rothwell

Home club: Pine Rivers Rapids

How long have you played? My whole life – I started with T-ball

Favourite food? Ham and cheese toasties with Old English cheese

Nickname? Honda

Favourite Major League Baseball team? The Atlanta Braves – they’re just a cool team

Sporting hero? Aaron Judge

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Logan Lokeni

Age: 11

School: Hercules Road State School

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Eight years

Favourite food? Lots!

Nickname? Loki

Favourite Major League Baseball team? San Diego Padres

Sporting hero? I also play Rugby League, so Cam Smith

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Archer Petersen

Age: 11

School: Scarborough State School

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? This is my third year

Favourite food? Spaghetti

Nickname? AJ

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Toronto Blue Jays because Vladimir Guerrero is there

Sporting hero? My cousin Jordan Luplow – he plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Keita Tsujinaka

Age: 12

School: The Lakes College

Home club: Narangba Demons

How long have you played? Three years

Favourite food? Salmon sushi

Nickname? Mozzie

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Los Angeles Angels

Sporting hero? Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Boston Red Sox

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Tirrell Waiwai

Age: 12

School: North Lakes State College

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Three years

Favourite food? Steak

Nickname? T-Rex

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Atlanta Braves

Sporting hero? Basketballer Giannis Antetokounmpo – he went from nothing to being a star

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Khyden Wilson

Age: 12

School: Grace Lutheran College

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

How long have you played? Since I was four

Favourite food? Nuggets

Nickname? Nugget

Favourite Major League Baseball team? LA Dodgers

Sporting hero? Buster Posey

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Tyler Wilson

Age: 11

School: Holy Spirit

Home club: Pine Rivers Rapids

How long have you played? Since 2015

Favourite food? Wagu steak

Nickname? TJ

Favourite Major League Baseball team? The Los Angeles Angels – my dad follows them

Sporting hero? Mike Trout

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Keith Land

Position: Head coach

Suburb: Clontarf

Home club: Redcliffe Padres

Favourite food? My wife’s curried sausages

Nickname? Landy

Favourite Major League Baseball team? San Diego Padres – I’ve been there about 10 times

Sporting hero? Tony Gywnn

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Chris Clem

Position: Assistant coach

Suburb: Narangba

Home club: Narangba

Employment: 5th Wave Martial Arts Academy at Narangba

Favourite food: Pizza or pasta

Nickname: Clemmy

Favourite Major League Baseball team: I used to play for the Cleveland Indians

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Shane Wilson

Position: Assistant coach

Suburb: Warner

Home club: President, Pine Rivers Rapids

Employment: Kingswood Cabinets

Favourite food? Pizza and pasta

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Los Angeles Angels

Sporting hero? Mike Trout

Little League baseballers pitching for world title

Name: Lyndon Clem

Position: Executive Officer

Suburb: Kurwongbah

Employment: Retired draftsman

Home club: Narangba. I’ve been involved since Chris was in the Under-8s

Favourite food? Quiche

Favourite Major League Baseball team? Cleveland Indians

Sporting hero? Wayne Bennett

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