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The Black Sox are coming

GOOD news keeps coming for Tairawhiti softball with indications that logistical planning is under way to bring the national squad to Gisborne for a training camp in late September.

Tairawhiti Softball Association president Walton Walker said the visit was not yet officially confirmed, but planning, including examing financial considerations, were under way with Softball New Zealand.

“‘We always hoped to bring the Black Sox here some time after the launch of the softball diamond at Waikirikiri Park, but we didn’t expect it to happen so soon.”

The Black Sox are expected to arrive on a Thursday in late September and leave on Sunday. The squad, consisting of 25 players and another seven people in management, will also visit schools.

The Black Sox will play in a tournament in South America shortly after the training camp. Mr Walker said it was an exciting time for the Tairawhiti softball community following the official opening of the purpose-built softball diamond in April.

Bringing the Black Sox to Gisborne was ‘‘the pinnacle of expectations’’. The next softball season would start in September rather than after Labour Weekend as in recent years, he said.

The diamond would be fenced off and that was expected to be completed before the Black Sox arrived.

All softball would be played at the new home of the game at Waikirikiri Park as part of the Papawhariki sports and community hub.

Waikirikiri had sufficient capacity for at least eight to 10 grass fields compared to six at the former softball base at Barry Park, Mr Walker said.

International softball teams have appeared in Gisborne more often than many people would realise.