As the majority of the 'Alcohol Think Again' Perth Heat start their spring training schedules in the United States for the approaching baseball season, the Perth Heat's training and development team turn their focus towards the up and coming crop of baseball talent in Western Australia. With the aim of developing the next generation of Perth Heat stars, youngsters from around the state and abroad will participate in the Winterball Training Program organised by Baseball WA's Diamond Sports Academy.
Lead by Perth Heat coach and Player Development Manager Steve Fish, the highlight of the Winterball program is the Heat Winter USA Baseball Trip, where the best players from the Diamond Academy head to the United States to experience firsthand what it takes to be a part of an American high school baseball program. This program is designed to test all participants, with an intense 30 game schedule over five weeks against the best high school teams along the West Coast. The trip also includes time to see Major League games in San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle.
In 2012, the Perth Heat will be extending their reach over the Tasman as up and coming New Zealand Prospect Daniel Bradley has signed with the Perth Heat, and will join the Diamond Academy Winterball program and USA Winterball trip. Bradley, 19, caught the eye of Steve Fish when he was sent a scouting video. "When I saw his video I was pleased with his athleticism and swing path. He runs well and has a good arm, which is also a bonus. He is young enough to take on our tour and will probably get some bites from US colleges if he performs well."
Bradley stated his excitement about his first trip to America to play baseball when he spoke to the Perth Heat on Sunday, and sees his participation in the Diamond Academy as integral to his development as a player. "I really want to play at a higher level than what I am right now, and I think going on this trip could give me the opportunity of getting to the next level. This will be my first time playing Baseball in America, and I'm really excited to face quality opposition. It will be good to compare myself against athletes of similar ages and gauge where I am, and how much work I need to do to further my baseball career."
The 2012 Diamond Academy Winterball Program commences this month with the American tour starting in June.