New Zealand fastball players hope summer in Alvinston gives them edge back home


When the cooler weather began to take hold earlier this year in New Zealand, two fastball players from there made their way to Alvinston to hone their skills and take advantage of the warm weather months here.
Brodie Boyce, 20 and Xaviar Herrick, 19, were part of the Alvinston Junior Aces roster this season in the Southwest Middlesex Men’s Fastball League.
The pair made the move from one hemisphere to another at the suggestion of Herrick’s best friend Adam Woon who pitched for the then Alvinston Indians in 2015 as well as one-time Indians hurler Kyle Crawford who has spent some time pitching in New Zealand in the past.
Boyce and Herrick both said it was an adjustment moving to the small east Lambton community.
They stayed busy training and volunteering with Alvinston minor ball when they weren’t suiting up with the Aces.
Both players were impressed with the quality of fastball in the area, especially at tournaments including the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament last month in Michigan.
“I had real high expectations and most teams stood up to what I thought it would be,” says Herrick. “I just wanted to see a bit of the world before settling down to become an electrician apprentice back home,” he adds.
That sentiment was echoed by Boyce, who became the ace of the Alvinston pitching staff this past summer.
“Not many people get this opportunity,” he says. “I just wanted to come over here and make some new friends and have some fun.”
Boyce and Herrick have both been asked by another team to return next season, but Boyce says he is not likely to come back because of his commitment to his studies at teacher’s college.
“I’d love to come back,” he says “I love this country.”
Herrick says he’s even tried to talk some of his Alvinston teammates into coming to “my side of the world” to play some ball in New Zealand sometime down the road.
Both Boyce and Herrick have aspirations of playing for New Zealand’s Under-23 National team in the future and say playing here this season should give them a leg up heading into the fastball season back home.
The pair left Alvinston last Sunday to fly back home and are disappointed they are not able to be with the Junior Aces for the remainder of the league playoffs which began Tuesday night in Fingal against the regular season champion St. Thomas Storm. (the score was not available prior to our press time)
“It’s going to be hard leaving the boys,” said Herrick in an interview with The Independent prior to their departure.
“Let’s hope they can do well in the next round.”
Games two and three in the best-of-five series with the Storm will be played in Alvinston on Thursday at 8 pm and Sunday afternoon at 1.
The Junior Aces advanced to the semi-finals in dramatic fashion by winning three straight games against Appin to win their quarter-final series three games to two. The final two games, both on the road in Glencoe, were won in extra innings.