Trent Oeltjen and Ryan Rowland-Smith are all too familiar with life on the diamond. Their storied careers have left them household names within the Australian baseball community, not only for their efforts on the field, but also those off of the field.
Trent Oeltjen's 14-year professional career features time with the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball.
While his buddy, Ryan Rowland-Smith, fronts 15 years of professional baseball experience, including five seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners.
The individual accomplishments aside, not much shines brighter than joining forces to bring home a Silver Medal for Australia at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Together, they form two of the most successful baseball products to come out of Australia.
The relationship continues today, but instead of teammates, Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith have taken on new roles: business partners.
The long-time friends felt it was time to pass the torch onto the next generation, and from there, NxtGen Baseball was born.
"Trent and I had so many conversations on how we can share our journeys and pass on our knowledge and skill sets into our own backyard. Starting NxtGen Baseball gave us that platform to make an impact on Australia's youth players," Rowland-Smith said.
NxtGen Baseball gives athletes of all ages the opportunity to learn from two of Australia's best. From inspiring to mentoring, Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith want others to experience the beauty of the sport.
"Our goal for the younger kids is for them to walk away from a camp and want to be the next major leaguer. Growing up for us, the major leagues were another world away. We want these kids to know that if they have a passion for something and are willing to put in the work, they can accomplish so many things, whether it be baseball or whatever they go after," Rowland-Smith said.
NxtGen has created so many opportunities for baseball's youth. Of all the incredible memories, Rowland-Smith's favourite experience thus far was having their NxtGen 13U team sit down with Bobby Evans, the General Manager of the San Francisco Giants.
Evans sat with the team for over an hour, taking the time to answer every question from the aspiring professionals. It was a moment that brought light to the importance behind mentoring the next generation.
"There's nothing better than receiving an email from a parent who's son or daughter has been at a camp or a tour and has walked away that much better equipped to take on his young baseball career. The relationships we have forged either from our camps or tours is what makes this so worth it," Rowland-Smith said.
With nearly 30 years of experience between them, Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith have formed relationships with some of the top experts in the game. From baseball executives, recruiters, MLB General Managers and MLB Coaches, the power duo has endless knowledge in their corner for young, hungry athletes.
"We want to see team Australia win a gold medal at the Olympics one day, we want to see an Australian first round draft pick, we want to see 30 Aussies playing against each other in MLB one day. If we can mentor and assist our kids, then put them on the right stage for the best opportunities, we are reaching our goals," Rowland-Smith said.
Much of Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith's success shines through their NxtGen Baseball Camps. Young athletes have access to Major League Players, Brisbane Bandits and local phenoms with the opportunity to be inspired and train like the professionals.
Not only can fans join Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith at a NxtGen Baseball Camp in QLD this January, fans can catch the duo on the field with the Brisbane Bandits this season!
With the first pitch of the season just six days away, the baseball community in Brisbane anxiously awaits the arrival of two of the country's very best.
NxtGen Baseball Camps:
Gold Coast: January 9th-10th.
Click here for the Sign up form and we'll send you all the info!
Make sure you Join the Nxtgen Family online. We have all kinds of giveaways, great content, stories and our camp schedule on our Facebook page
Or go to NxtGenBaseball.com for all the info!