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Kiwi teen secures Major League Baseball deal

Published: 8:37AM Thursday January 19, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

New Zealand teenager Pita Rona has secured a seven-year deal with Major League Baseball franchise the Baltimore Orioles.

The Auckland youngster, who has represented New Zealand in softball, switched codes late last year to focus his attention on baseball.

Rona was picked up after scouts from the franchise came to New Zealand this week to look at the country's top young talent and will link up with the Orioles development programme in Australia.

The 17-year-old said he watches a lot of MLB and to know that he could play there is 'crazy'.

Rona will be given leave from the programme in November to focus on his Under-19 softball commitments for New Zealand.

Baltimore Orioles Director of International Scouting David Stockstill said the team is looking to make the scouting mission an annual trip on their international calendar.

"The Orioles are working hard to expand our search for potential Major League players to new areas," he said in a statement.

New Zealand has never had a major league baseballer with ex-Atlanta Braves minor league player Travis Wilson the closest to making it.

- With Newstalk ZB