In just his fourth year of playing the sport, the Forrestfield resident has been selected in the Perth Central Firebirds team to compete in the Little League World Series ” an Australian first in the competition’s 67-year history.
The team, made up of 14 players from South Perth, Gosnells and Willetton clubs, secured their place in the international competition to be held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, when they clinched the national championship after being undefeated all season.
The young pitcher said the news of his selection was still sinking in.
‘I am excited for the trip because this is huge ” an Australian team has never been there before ” but I don’t think it has sunk in just yet,’ he said.
‘There will be about 5000 people at each game and that will be the biggest crowds we will play in front of.
‘Our first game is against Mexico, who should be easy to beat, but the teams from Japan and the American south-east region will be the toughest.’
Kieren said the Australian team would come together for 17 practice sessions before departing.
‘Some of the other teams we will be up against can pitch at about 70 or more miles per hour and we are not that fast yet,’ he said.
‘We will have players from Perth Heat come in to pitch that fast for us, so we are prepared when we are batting in the World Series.’
The Dawson Primary School student, who can rattle off a series of sport-related facts, is aiming for a career in baseball.
He has been accepted into the sport program at Darling Range Sport College for next year, and dreams of playing for his favourite team, the San Francisco Giants.
Kieren’s mum Trish said the families of the players were thrilled, not only for their sporting achievements, but because a lot of hard work went on behind the scenes to get them there.
She said the families spent months fundraising to get the team to Queensland where they won the grand final that secured their spot in the World Series.
‘We needed $15,000 to get the team to Queensland for the final and we fundraised $11,000 of that figure ourselves, so there has been a lot of work put in.
‘We just recently secured sponsorship for their USA travel uniforms, but the families are also spending thousands of dollars to be able to go along and watch their kids play ” many sacrifices have been made.’