Pitcher's call-up for US tour
AS LACHLAN Allen prepares to become just the third Far North Coast baseballer to represent Australia at under-13 level in the Cal Ripken international series in the United States, he can thank a game of cricket for getting him there.
The Cal Ripken Series begins on August 12 in the US state of Maryland and goes for 10 days after an intensive 10-day training camp.
Michael Gahan and Mitchell Watt are the only other FNC baseballers to have represented Australia at the tournament.
Lachlan, who plays for Easts Redbirds Under-14s, had his pitching talents discovered during a muck-around game of cricket in his backyard.
“Lachy got into baseball only three years ago while throwing the ball in a game of cricket on our property in Tuckurimba with older brother Luke,” his father David said.
“He was throwing the ball really strongly so we thought we might as well get him involved in baseball.”
Lachlan has never looked back.
In the Australian Little League Championships on the Gold Coast in May, Lachlan’s form for Far North Coast demanded he be selected for the Cal Ripken Series after originally missing out on the squad of 18 during selection trials in April.
On the Gold Coast, Lachlan’s frustration at missing the squad led to a pitching fury – he amazingly struck out 14 players from a possible 16 in one game then made 11 strike-outs in another.
“It just happened for me and I enjoyed myself,” Lachlan said.
After these stand-out performances, one of Lachlan’s FNC coaches and baseball commissioner for the region Paul Latta sought out Australia’s Under-13 head coach Bob Nelson for a frank discussion.
As well as the cricket, Lachlan can thank Latta for lobbying hard to get him in a green and gold jersey.
“I spoke with Nelson and his offsider Dave West for 40 minutes and told him he needed to let Lachlan into the team,” Latta said.
“I said ‘If Lismore players continuously get shafted, why encourage them to participate?’
“I said ‘this is Lismore’s chance to get back in the (Australian representative) ring’.
“It’s hard for regional kids to make Australian baseball teams because most national coaches and players are based in cities.”
But Latta believes Lachlan is ready to justify his selection.
He is adamant the Richmond River High School student can match it against some big US state teams as well as the likes of powerful baseball nations Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Canada.
The FNC baseball community has been helping raise money to get Lachlan to the US.
Raffles, doorknocks and Northern Rivers businesses have all contributed.
And on August 20, Lismore Turf Club will host a night of trivia to add to the cause.