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Vets bolster Black Sox World Cup squad

Updated: Apr 18

Wayne Laulu Black Sox softball
Wellington's Wayne Laulu has been included in the Black Sox squad. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Three Softball World Cup-winning veterans have returned to the Black Sox set-up ahead of a big year.

Canterbury's Tyron Bartorillo, Auckland's Nik Hayes and Wellington's Wayne Laulu were named on Wednesday in the Black Sox 16-man squad for the WBSC Softball World Cup Group Stage Qualifier in Canada in July.

The trio were part of New Zealand's last World Cup-winning team in Whitehorse, Canada in 2017, along with current team-mates, captain Cole Evans, Ben Enoka and Thomas Enoka.

The Black Sox roster features 11 players from the last World Cup, in Auckland in December 2022, when New Zealand finished a disappointing eighth.

Thomas Makea's No 8-ranked Black Sox will face hosts Canada, Singapore, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Hong Kong in the Group B Qualifier in Prince Albert, Canada from July 10-14.

The seven-time world champions hold 13 medals in the event but have failed to reach the podium in the last two editions, marking the first time in history that New Zealand has finished out of the medals in consecutive World Cups.

Black Sox softball
The Black Sox will face Canada, Singapore, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Hong Kong. PHOTO: WBSC

The Black Sox qualified for the World Cup, finishing second at the WBSC Oceania Qualification Tournament in American Samoa last November. 

New Zealand finished the tournament with a 4-2 record, beating hosts American Samoa three times, and going 1-2 against the defending world champions Australia.

Under the new two-stage World Cup format, the Black Sox will be chasing one of two tickets to the eight-nation WBSC Softball World Cup Finals at the same venue from July 8-13, 2025.

Two teams from each of the three Group Stage Qualifiers will advance to the 2025 edition, along with two wildcard entries named later.

"The Group Stage Qualifier in Prince Albert is a crucial step towards our goal next year," Softball NZ president Lynda O’Cain said. "Congratulations to the selected athletes. Together, we will continue to strive for excellence and proudly represent New Zealand."


WBSC Softball World Cup Group Qualifier, Prince Albert, Canada

Tyron Bartorillo (Canterbury), Te Wera Bishop (Wellington), Daniel Chapman (Auckland), Ben Enoka (Auckland), Thomas Enoka (Auckland), Cole Evan (Auckland - captain), Rhys Evan (Auckland), Nik Hayes (Auckland), Wayne Laulu (Wellington), Reilly Makea (Wellington), Hohepa Monk (North Harbour), Tane Mumu (Hutt Valley), Liam Potts (Canterbury), Jerome Raemaki (Wellington), Pita Rona (North Harbour), Cameron Watts (Canterbury)

Non-Travelling Reserves: Max Earley (Auckland), Te Kirika Cooper-Nicola (Wellington), Jayden Stratford (Wellington), Damon Creasy (Wellington), Callum Bishop (Canterbury), Jackson Watt (Canterbury)


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