TALENTED young Lismore baseball player Kodey Wilford is edging ever closer to his goal of playing top-level baseball in the United States.
The St John's College Woodlawn student returned from the International Baseball Federation 15U (under-15) Baseball World Cup in Sinaloa, Mexico, on Wednesday.
The Australian team, competing against heavyweights, such as Cuba, USA and Japan, placed ninth in a field of 18 national teams in the July 31 to August 10 tournament.
Kodey said the team's result was solid considering the lower take-up of baseball in Australia when compared with key baseballing nations.
"It was a once in a lifetime experience," he said.
"Our opponents are definitely ahead of Australia in the baseball world. It's so big over there.
"But it was some really good experience for me."
Kodey played a variety of positions during his time on the field, but said he prefers to play centrefield.
He said gaining the opportunity to gauge the playing styles and strengths of national opponents would allow him to alter his game for the better.
"It's really down to training hard, sticking to what you know and the basics," he said.
"I'll probably make some adjustments to my training, but whatever I'm doing seems to be working okay." Currently, Kodey trains six days a week - varying time between the gym, a personal trainer and baseball-centric skill training.
When asked where he plans to be in 10 years, Kodey is shooting for the stars.
"In the future I would love to see myself playing in the top level in the US," he said, conceding the dream would involve a mountain of hard work.
However, with his drive, determination and obvious love for the sport, it seems likely Kodey will eventually join a growing number of Aussie expats playing ball internationally.
Sharon Wilford, Kodey's mother, said she was extremely proud of her son's achievements.
"Basically, for me I'm just happy he's having fun and enjoying what he's doing," she said.
Kodey said his Mexico trip, which followed a Gold Coast trial in June, would not have been possible without the support of his mum, dad Brendon and brother Corey.
He plays Far North Coast Baseball with Brothers and travels to the Gold Coast to play with Surfers Paradise.