TALK to those high up in baseball circles and they will tell you that Marist Brothers player Michael Gahan deserves to play against the best young talent in the world.
And that is exactly what Gahan will do starting next Friday when he wears the green and gold of Australia at the Under-16 World Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
The championships finish on August 28.
The 16-year-old was selected in the Australian team after an impressive last three weeks at the Baseball Australian Academy program at Palm Meadows on the Gold Coast.
Pitcher Gahan's variety and pace was too strong during inter-camp trial matches in front of some of Australian baseball's best coaches.
“I think I had two average games during the camp,” Gahan said.
And what does Gahan mean by two “average” games?
“They were the only two games I gave up runs and I threw in seven matches at the camp,” Gahan said.
His opponents just happened to be some of the best young baseballers in the country.
They were older and bigger than Gahan too.
“I pitched against some 18 and 19-year-olds in inter-squad games which was a good experience because the guys I'll be up against in Mexico will be big kids anyway,” Gahan said.
Gahan has ticked all the right boxes with his pitching according to some influential baseball figures.
“(Australian under-16 head coach) Tony Harris said to me ‘you're someone I can trust to start matches',” Gahan said.
“He told me ‘I like the way you compete'.”
Gahan first donned Australian colours in 2007 at the under-14 Cal Ripken tournament in Maryland in the US.
The hunger to play for his country has burned strongly ever since.
“I wanted to play more games for Australia ever since that tournament,” Gahan said.
“When they told me I was going to Mexico I was speechless.
“I trained and threw everyday at the academy and I was a bit sore to start off with but then I got used to it.”
Hitting coach from the Australian Academy camp, Andy Utting, believes Gahan will not be out of place when he takes the field wearing the green and gold in Mexico.
“Michael was one of the more consistent pitchers at the Academy for his age group,” he said.
“With that in mind the Australian coaches are keen for him to start matches at the championship.”
Gahan's variety as a pitcher left a good impression on Utting.
“He's got a good change-up ball, fast ball, curve ball and slider,” Utting said.
“He's most definitely got the talent to end up playing senior baseball for Australia.
“For his age, the academy was a big workload and some found it a big shock to the system.
“But Michael got through it all unscathed.”
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