Black Sox strike out with baseball policy

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2011

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Black Sox management have admitted they were unaware three players recently named to the national softball team played baseball last weekend, after previously stating any softballer playing the rival sport would be barred from the Black Sox.

Black Sox vice-captain Brad Rona, son Pita Rona and Thomas Enoka played for the West City Metro Premier team against the Orewa Sharks last Sunday. All three were then named in the Black Sox squad to attend the "Skins" softball tournament in Canberra later this month.

In an email dated September 14 this year, Black Sox manager Doug Golightly stated that any member of the team who played baseball, on any level, would surrender his place in the team and be barred from playing at the 2013 World Championships.

"If you want to play baseball by all means do that. But in doing so you will forfeit your place in the Black Sox and will NOT be eligible for the World Champs," the email, which was sent to all Black Sox squad members and coach Eddie Kohlhase, read.

When informed by Sunday News, Golightly admitted Black Sox senior management, including Kohlhase, were unaware the three players had played baseball.

"It's disappointing because obviously there's some confusion there," he said.

In the email, Golightly stated Softball New Zealand wanted the players to concentrate on the World Championships, which are to be hosted by New Zealand, and wanted "to promote the Black Sox and the 2013 World Championships not baseball".

He also states that the Black Sox leadership/management group does not want Black Sox players lending their name to "a rival sport".

"But let's be quite clear – if you want to be involved in the 2013 World Championships there will be no baseball at ANY level," the email read.

Rona, who has been a regular for the Black Sox since 2000, said he was attracted to play baseball due to the possibility of representing New Zealand in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers next November.

"It was always what I wanted to try and do," the 35-year-old said. "Now that this Baseball New Zealand team is in the World Baseball Classic I thought what an opportunity.

"It's still in the early days of that because I'm sure New Zealand Softball won't agree to us playing baseball as well. So watch this space."

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