Tim keeps family tradition going
Southland softball star Tim Campbell will fulfil a childhood dream when he steps onto the diamond with the Junior Black Sox in Argentina early next month.
The 18-year-old James Hargest College pupil has dreamed of representing his country from a young age and will play for a New Zealand side for the first time at the junior world championships.
Campbell will follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Jonathan, who turned out for the Junior Black Sox in 2008.
Softball runs deep in the Campbell family veins, with Tim's late father, Jamie, a former Black Sox international. He first represented New Zealand in 1973 and also played in the World Series in 1980.
Campbell's selection in the New Zealand age-group team continues a successful run for softball in Southland. The province have had a player in the New Zealand team for each of the past six junior world series.
The Junior Black Sox will compete in a warmup tournament in Auckland against club sides before departing for Argentina next Thursday.
The junior world championships will be played in the East Argentinian city of Parana from November 1 to 10.
Campbell said being named in a New Zealand softball side for the first time was a huge thrill and he was confident about his team's chances.
"We're hoping to go all the way. We've got a few good players. A couple of players are in the Black Sox," he said.
New Zealand have been grouped in pool A for the tournament, along with Australia, Denmark, India, Singapore, the United States, and Venezuela. They take on Denmark on their opening game on November 2.
Campbell, who plays as a first and third baseman and also in the outfield, pushed his selection claims with a fine display for Southland at the under 19 nationals earlier this year.
He also impressed filling in for Hawke's Bay at the New Zealand Open club championships.
"[The under-19 nationals] is where I really showed what I can do," Campbell said.
"That's where I had to play well, if I wanted a chance."
Campbell is one of only two players in the New Zealand Junior Black Sox from the South Island, which makes his achievement even more remarkable.
The youngster admitted to not knowing a lot about Argentina, but said it would be fantastic to travel overseas and play softball against the best young international players in the world.
"It's awesome [to be selected]. I'm pretty excited about it."
Campbell, who is planning to study at the University of Otago next year, is one of Southland's most talented young sportsmen.
He is also an outstanding basketball player and has been involved with the Southland Sharks national basketball league team over the past two years as a development player.
After returning from Argentina, Campbell will play for Southland at the Jefferies Cup South Island softball tournament in Christchurch in early December, and will also be kept busy with his Demons Red club in the Major League softball championship.
- The Southland Times