Marlborough softball stars Kurt Schollum and Nik Hayes have been in the thick of the action during the New Zealand Black Sox tour of Canada and the United States in recent days.
On Friday night, the Black Sox played a team from the Dominican Republic and won 4-2. Patrick Shannon hit a home run with two runners on base and Wayne Laulu added another home run in the fourth inning.
Game two was against the Swashbucklers from California with new tour arrival Jeremy Manley given the pitching duties. After a rusty start he recovered well to strike 15 batters out in succession.
In an article on the Softball New Zealand website, Black Sox team spokesman Carl Gould said that Manley's outstanding display reminded him of the late Steve Schultz, a Marlborough-born player who pitched for the United States.
The New Zealand batters again did a good job against the Swashbucklers and won comfortably 5-0.
On Saturday night they faced an All-Star team from Venezuela, the Padres.
Marlborough's two pitchers were in action during this clash. Schollum came on and pitched two good innings then Hayes replaced him, also impressing with a good performance.
In his report, Gould said, "With Nik at 23 years of age and Kurt Schollum the youngster of the pitchers (18), this tour has uncovered real talent that will allow the Black Sox to develop its depth in the pitching department.
"The selectors have been given something to think about by these two young men."
New Zealand's hitting in the All-Star match was exceptional, Gould said, led by Shannon, Nathan Nukunuku, Thomas Makea and captain Rhys Casley.
Schollum's parents spoke to their son on Sunday night and his mother, Deb Schollum, said he was enjoying the tour, especially now they were based in New York and with so many landmarks to visit.
- © Fairfax NZ News